KATHMANDU, 21 April 2016- The Golden 1000 Days public awareness campaign partnership between the Government of Nepal (National Planning Commission and Ministry of Health), The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for improving the nutrition situation of women and children in the country was launched today in an event organized by the National Planning Commission (NPC).
"This public awareness campaign will not only benefit children, adolescents and women in country, but ultimately the prosperity of the nation as well," said Mr. Ram Janam Chaudhary, Minister for Health. "Therefore all the sectoral ministries should plan and implement their policies and programmes under the Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan, focusing on Golden 1000 Days so that everyone understands about the importance of the first 1000 days of the child's life, and its positive impact not just at the personal level, but at the societal and national level as well."
Under-nutrition is a major problem in Nepal with about 37 per cent of children under-five years of age suffering from stunting or low height for age which has serious, irreversible and lifelong consequences.
“Investment in Nutrition is an investment in ‘human capital’," said Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada, Vice Chair of the National Planning Commission. "For Nepal to graduate from Least Developed Countries by 2022, improvement in nutrition is a prerequisite, therefore, Nepal is committed to reduce undernutrition among women and children.”
The Government of Nepal has launched a Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan (MSNP), to accelerate improvement of maternal and child nutrition. MSNP lays stress on improving nutrition for mothers and babies. Proper nutrition during the 1,000 days' window can improve health and well-being of children and thereby significantly reduce the human and economic burden of diseases.
At the event, Ms. Ranju Kumari Jha, Honorable Chairperson of Women, Children, Senior Citizens and Social Welfare Committee at Legislature Parliament, highlighted the importance of coordination amongst Parliamentary Committees, related Ministries and NPC to solve the issue of under nutrition brought on by hunger, diseases, lack of education and poverty. Similarly, Prof. Dr. Geeta Bhakta Joshi, Honorable Member, NPC, spoke about Nepal’s Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Plan. The welcome address was delivered by Mr. Madhu Kumar Marasini, Joint Secretary, NPC Secretariat.
“Tackling nutrition requires a truly multi-sectoral approach, and in this regard I have to congratulate Nepal for having one of the most advanced and truly multi-sectoral nutrition policy in Asia,” said H.E. Rensje Teerink, Ambassador, European Union Delegation to Nepal. “With this new EU/UNICEF and Government Partnership for Improved Nutrition, we will reach out to communities most in need of interventions to enhance maternal, infant and child nutrition,” said Ms. Teerink.
“The right nutrition and care during this critical window of opportunity of 1000 days can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn, and rise out of poverty,” said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Representative to Nepal. "It can help break the cycle of poverty of families, communities and countries. It can shape a society’s long-term health, stability and prosperity."
Also at the event, Mr. Paras Khadka, the captain of the Nepali Cricket Team, was launched as the Goodwill Ambassador for Nutrition, Food Security and Golden 1000 Days Public Awareness Campaign by Dr. Khatiwada, on behalf of Nepal Government.
The newly launched Goodwill Ambassador Mr. Khadka encouraged men to ensure proper care, nutrition as well as sanitation and hygiene for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children in their households and community.
About the Poshanka Laagi Haatemalo (Partnership for Improved Nutrition):
The Poshanka Laagi Haatemalo (Partnership for Improved Nutrition) project worth 27.7 million Euro will seek to improve nutrition status of mothers, infants and children to combat chronic malnutrition in the 28 districts prioritized by the Government of Nepal for scaling up of the Multi Sector Nutrition Plan. The targeted districts, where children are experiencing the highest deprivations compared to national average, include Bajhang, Bajura, Dolpa, Humla, Jumla, Kalikot, and Mugu in the mountainous region; Achham, Baitadi, Dadeldhura, Dailekh, Doti, Jajarkot, Khotang, Panchthar, Rolpa, Rukum and Udayapur in the hilly region; and Bara, Bardiya, Dhanusha, Kapilvastu, Mahottari, Nawalparasi, Parsa, Rautahat, Saptari and Sarlahi in the Tarai.