New partnership to improve nutrition of women and children in Nepal
This partnership will support the Government of Nepal’s Multi-sector Nutrition Plan (MSNP) with focus on a set of highly cost-effective and essential actions for mothers, infants and children 6-23 months. The partnership will result in coordinated infant and young child feeding activities in six UNICEF and 20 Suaahara districts. Other core objectives of this partnership include raising nutrition as a national and sub-national development agenda and advocating for gender and social inclusion in infant and young child feeding programs.
“When there is good nutrition, especially in those thousand days during pregnancy up to the child’s second birthday, it means healthier lives and a brighter future for Nepalese children. Through this collaboration, we will also be supporting the Government of Nepal’s initiatives to improve maternal and child nutrition in Nepal”, said Ms. Lynn Lederer, the Suaahara Chief of Party.
It is estimated that 41 percent of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition in Nepal, which is also the cause of more than one third of the childhood mortality. Research has shown that malnutrition in early childhood results in impaired intellectual development and cognitive ability which is irreversible, resulting in reduced productivity in adult life and a loss of up to 10 percent of lifetime earning capacity.
Dr. Will Parks, UNICEF Deputy Representative, said “The partnership between UNICEF and the USAID-funded Suaahara program is a milestone achievement that will efficiently use existing resources to amplify nutritional benefits for children especially among the most vulnerable population groups.”
Suaahara is a five-year (2011-2016) USAID-funded program implemented by Save the Children and six partners that uniquely integrates nutrition, hygiene, agriculture, family planning, reproductive and child health activities at the household and community level in 20 rural districts with poor nutrition indicators. UNICEF Nepal Country Office is supporting the Government of Nepal to model MSNP in six selected districts and scale-up essential nutrition specific interventions in line with the MSNP recently launched by Prime Minister Mr. Baburam Bhattarai.
The EU is a strong supporter to nutrition programmes in Nepal through its funding to a four year (2011-2014) Regional Project on Maternal and Young Child Nutrition in South Asia (MYCNSIA) which is covering five Asia countries in addition to Nepal. This funding is supporting a comprehensive package of measures to prevent and address maternal and child under-nutrition, which is threatening to derail national development progress.
Mr. Gerard Van Driessche, Chargé d'Affaires of the EU Delegation to Nepal, stated “The EU acknowledges the critical importance of nutrition as the foundation of social and economic development and as a prerequisite for an accelerated achievement of all MDGs. As a donor, the EU welcomes such a partnership between two key actors that have been instrumental in supporting the Government of Nepal fight against high levels of acute and chronic undernutrition in both women and children in the country.”
Suaahara consist of 7 organisations working cooperatively on nutritional issues: Save the Children, Helen Keller International; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Business School of Public Health: Centre for Communication Programs; Jhpiego; Nutrition Promotion Consultancy Service; Nepali Technical Assistance Group; Nepal Water for Health
Mr. John Brittain, Chief of Communications, UNICEF Nepal. Ph: 9851054139