A Milestone Plan Launched to Improve Maternal and Child Nutrition in Nepal
© UNICEF Nepal/2012/NShrestha
PM Dr. Baburam-Bhattarai launches the MSNP Plan
Kathmandu 20 September: It was a historical step in the Nepali nutrition sector today when Multi Sector Nutrition Plan (2013–2017) formulated by National Planning Commission (NPC) was launched by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai in the capital.
The launch was witnessed by the Vice Chair and members of NPC, secretaries of different ministries and other senior officials of the Government, development partners and civil society members. UNICEF has provided the lead technical support to the NPC, with funding from the European Union (EU) as part of the regional Maternal and Young Child Nutrition Security in Asia (MYCNSIA) project. Three days earlier, on 17th September, Representatives of seven ministries, the NPC and various national and international development partners had signed on a Declaration of Commitment to accelerate reduction of chronic malnutrition in women and children in Nepal.
The Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai while expressed his delight at the launch of the Plan and assured all of his utmost commitment to it: “We have envisioned achieving nutritional well-being of all people in Nepal to maintain a healthy life to contribute in the socio-economic development of the country,” he said. “Our mission is to accelerate the reduction in malnutrition, enhance our children’s brain development and growth. The Government of Nepal is highly committed to this, which is a prerequisite for achieving the MDGs."
Dr. Bhattarai added, “As a member of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Lead Group I am giving this a high priority in the development agenda for Nepal. Let us all work together hand on hand to achieve zero hunger and chronic under-nutrition.”
About 41 per cent of Nepali children under five are suffering from stunting, a measure of chronic under nutrition. The consequences of acute malnutrition are profound, irreversible and lifelong. It heightens children’s risk of death and damages the brain, ultimately impacting the physical development and the general health and well-being of a nation. It is estimated that it can impact as much as 10 per cent of lifetime earning among the affected and a reduction of up to 3 per cent of the country’s GDP.
Supporting the highly anticipated plan, Hanaa Singer, Unicef Nepal Country Representative, said, “Malnutrition has been a silent emergency in this country; insidious and pervasive, affecting the health, intellectual capacity and productivity of Nepalis, from generation to generation. What has impressed us most is the high level leadership and commitment to uplift the profile of nutrition in the national development agenda. To make nutrition cross the traditional boundaries that it had been relegated to, and making it a matter of concern to other sectors like education, sanitation, agriculture and finance too.”
The Multi Sector Nutrition Plan focuses its intervention during the first one thousand days of life. The period from conception to a child’s second birthday is critical when young children lose their chance to thrive cognitively and physically if poorly nourished. The aim of the plan is to reduce chronic malnutrition by one third over the next 5 years and within 10 years, bring it down to the level that it no longer hampers the human development capital.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Prakash Dahal
The National Planning Commission, Social Development Division
Phone Number 4211757