France, Unicef and WFP join hands to improve child health and nutrition in Lao PDR

BOUNNEUA, LAO PDR – The Ministry of Health, provincial authorities, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF have at present launched a mission supported by the Republic of France, specializing in enhancing the vitamin standing of youngsters underneath 5 in Lao PDR’s northernmost province of Phongsaly.

An funding of EUR 500,000 (approx. US$ 520,000) from the French Alimentary Aid Programme will contribute to the prevention and remedy of losing, a type of malnutrition the place kids fail to take care of an ample weight for his or her top, compromising their well being and improvement and considerably endangering their lives. The Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition in Lao mission will probably be applied in Phongsaly Province, an space with persistently excessive malnutrition charges, notably in kids underneath 5 years. Drawing on a world partnership between UNICEF and WFP, along with the Government of Lao PDR, the mission goals to advertise constructive toddler and younger baby feeding practices, improve maternal vitamin information, and enhance the detection and remedy of youngsters impacted by losing. Collectively that is anticipated to strengthen the outcomes of the Government of Lao PDR’s nationwide Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition programme.

In Phongsaly, the prevalence of malnutrition in kids underneath 5 years stays one of many highest amongst all Lao provinces. Less than half of all infants are solely breastfed throughout their first 6 months, and solely 28 p.c of youngsters underneath 5 eat diets that meet the WHO minimal acceptable standards. Poor maternal vitamin, a excessive degree of adolescent pregnancies, difficult water and hygiene situations and restricted entry to well being companies, in addition to meals insecurity, because of the impacts of local weather change and COVID-19 amongst different points, additional exacerbate the scenario. The mission will elevate consciousness amongst 23,000 group members on acute malnutrition, whereas 5,000 kids underneath 5 will probably be screened to establish their dietary standing and 500 acutely malnourished kids will obtain remedy companies and therapeutic meals throughout six districts of Phongsaly Province.

“France is supporting the Lao Government in its efforts to realize Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 on ending starvation, attaining meals safety, enhancing vitamin and sustainable agriculture. By drawing on the technical experience and in depth subject presence of the WFP and UNICEF, in addition to the French Research Institute for Development (IRD), who’s a associate on this mission, we will probably be higher positioned to enhance the dietary outcomes for kids in Phongsaly, particularly within the mild of impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” mentioned H.E. Siv-Leng Chhuor, French Ambassador to Lao PDR.

This newly launched mission builds on earlier interventions supported by UNICEF and WFP in Phongsaly in addition to nationwide degree efforts. UNICEF and WFP have maintained a long-standing partnership on the prevention and remedy of losing, united by their mutual settlement that the difficulty of kid losing can and should be prevented. This partnership, which was lately renewed in late 2020, is codified within the Global Action Plan on Child Wasting, which serves as a foundation for nation frameworks and particulars how prevention and remedy of losing will probably be managed.

“The Ministry of Health welcomes this new partnership. Wasted kids have a better danger of dying – as much as 12 occasions greater – than wholesome kids and therefore it’s crucial that we attain them with such lifesaving remedy,” Dr. Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, Director General of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion mentioned. “The holistic method of prevention and remedy on this mission is totally aligned with Lao PDR’s National Plan of Action for Nutrition 2021-2025 and can allow our well being care employees to detect and deal with malnourished kids earlier than it’s too late, which attracts on our ongoing efforts to construct an built-in system of administration of acute malnutrition.”

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