1,000 Days is grateful to House appropriators for their support of maternal and child nutrition in the Fiscal Year 2018 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The legislation maintains level funding –$125 million – for nutrition in the Global Health Programs account. We appreciate the committee’s support for “effective nutrition interventions to reduce stunting, increase breastfeeding, promote early childhood development, and treat severe malnutrition”, as noted in the accompanying report.
Funding from the nutrition sub-account supports vital services to improve maternal diets; enhance nutrition during pregnancy; promote breastfeeding; and improve infant and young child feeding practices. These and other activities are essential to the goals outlined in the House report.
However, while we appreciate the House bill’s rejection of the Administration’s proposed deep cuts and eliminations to vital programs, and though we recognize the allocation provided the committee was lower than in recent years, we are concerned by the $10 billion cut to the FY18 international affairs topline as compared to the current level. Improved nutritional outcomes require a multi-sectoral response and robust funding across global health, development and humanitarian accounts, as well as sufficient resources to maintain strong technical capacity at USAID and other agencies.
For this reason, it is imperative that the full range of investments are protected and brought to scale so that we can see the tremendous returns possible when contributions from all sources – including the United States – are increased for high-impact interventions: 3.7 million child lives saved, 65 million fewer stunted children, and 265 million fewer women suffering from anemia.
The right nutrition in the first 1,000 days is an investment in ensuring children can reach their full potential and countries can reach their broader economic development goals. We appreciate the committee’s leadership and all Members who have championed greater progress against malnutrition. 1,000 Days looks forward to working with them and their Senate counterparts to ensure sustained and greater gains moving forward.