Healthy Markets

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Market CattleHealthy Food Markets is an initiative being promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure access to healthy and nutritious food. The concept applies a multidisciplinary approach in which all stakeholders collaborate to provide safe and nutritious food to the community, and aligns with the healthy villages and health promoting schools concepts SCHI are also implementing to achieve a holistic approach across communities.

In Malawi it is estimated that 8, 800 Malawians, including 4, 500 under five children die each year form diarrhoeal disease, and the Malawi Health Sector Strategic Plan (2011 – 2016) identifies diarrhoea as one of the leading cause of mortality among children in Malawi. Poor food hygiene practices might be causing more diarrhoeal disease than exposure to contaminated water, as exposure to poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions are compounded by early weaning, lack of exclusive breastfeeding and feeding with water at an early age. As such a coordinated approach to healthy and sanitary markets where food is prepared and sold is key to the prevention of diarrhoeal disease at community level.

Market Beans Most markets in Malawi lack basic amenities for health (e.g. toilets, water for cleaning and hand washing, waste disposal, etc.), as such the likelihood of food contamination is very high. Whilst most food and water contamination intervention programs are focusing on the home, contamination can essentially happen anywhere along the food chain and markets are very vital for intervention programs. SCHI is piloting a healthy market programme in 2 markets (Dembo and Mfera) within the catchment area. The programme will be multidisciplinary in nature with capacity building and supervision. The tools developed in this programme will be developed into a healthy market toolkit for further dissemination and scale up.