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Nepal launches Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan in Jumla District

© UNICEF Nepal/2013/SMebrahtu
Joint Secretary of the NPC, Mr. Purusottam Ghimire, launching the MSNP in Jumla district. Present on the far right is UNICEF Deputy Representative, Mr. Will Parks

G8 leaders in London make global commitment to improve nutrition

By Saba Mebrahtu and Pradiumna Dahal

Jumla, 7 June 2013 - The Government of Nepal launched the Multi-sector Nutrition Plan (MSNP) in Jumla, a rural district in Mid-West Nepal. The plan was prepared by the National Planning Commission (NPC), with lead technical support from UNICEF.  Funding was provided by the European Union through the regional UNICEF-EU MYCNSIA project.

Under-nutrition is a major problem in Nepal, particularly in the Mid and Far west of Nepal.  It affects over 60 per cent of children under five in Jumla, which is considerably higher than the national average of 41 per cent.

The programme was launched by the Joint Secretary of the NPC, Mr. Purushottam Ghimire and the Director of the Mid-West Regional Health Directorate. “The Government of Nepal is committed to reduce undernutrition in Nepal and will gradually increase resources for improving nutrition in Nepal through all key sectors,” said Mr. Ghimire from the NPC.

Also present were senior officials from key ministries like Agriculture, Education, Urban Development, and development partners including UNICEF and other concerned district stakeholders, civil society representatives, political parties and journalists.

UNICEF Deputy Representative Will Parks highlighted the challenges posed by malnutrition in Nepal. “We commend the government’s steadfast leadership and commitment to increase investment on nutrition, given that every $1 invested in nutrition generates as much as $138 in better health and increased productivity” said Mr. Parks. He also added that coordination between partners and effective implementation is key for improving nutrition of women and children in Jumla.

Jumla is the fourth district which has launched the implementation of the MSNP this year. The three other districts where MSNP was launched are Achham, Kapilvastu and Nawalparasi.

© UNICEF Nepal/2013/SMebrahtu
UNICEF Deputy Representative, Dr. Will Parks washing hands with soap during the launching of MSNP implementation in Jumla district.

The Kapilvastu launch was on 16 May, and Mr Yuvraj Bhusal, the Secretary of the NPC, Ms. Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Nepal Representative of, Mr. Lluis Navarro, Head of the European Delegation in Nepal, Ms. Lala Borja, Chief of Party from Suaahara, and other development partners, media, political parties and civil society representatives were present.

“Malnutrition poses serious ramifications on children's survival, growth and development. Undernutrition is the underlying cause for up to 60% of child mortality” said Ms. Singer at the launch in Kapilvastu.

Mr Navarro from the EU said that, “Nutrition will be a key component in the new multi-year support plan of the EU (2014-2020) to help reduce high prevalence of undernutrition in the country.” 

The launching of the MSNP implementation in the two remaining districts of Bajura in the Far West and Parsa from Central region will take place within June 2013. 

8 June 2013, London

In London the G8 group of nations, including more than 60 world leaders from governments, international organisations, businesses, as well as civil society organisations, development agencies and research groups signed, the next day, the “Global Nutrition for Growth Compact” and made concrete commitments to act for better nutrition globally over the next seven years.

The event focused on the importance of good nutrition for the growth of individuals, societies and countries. The commitments included clear targets for reducing the numbers of chronically undernourished children, for tackling obesity, for reducing anemia and other micronutrient deficiencies, providing breastfeeding opportunity to women, improved agriculture and a nutritious food system among others.

According to the Lancet magazine, malnutrition is responsible for over 3 million child deaths annually. Ending stunting and other forms of undernutrition saves lives and improves health, prospects for children and development progress.

“Our message is clear; the time is now for all of us to demonstrate resolute leadership and steadfast commitment for the millions of mothers and children who still fall victim to undernutrition,” Mr. Werner Schultink,  Associate Director of Nutrition, UNICEF New York, said at the event in London,

*Ms. Mebrahtu is the Chief of Nutrition Section, UNICEF Nepal.



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