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UNICEF awards winners of children’s art competition devoted to improving mother and child health

© UNICEF KZ / Khudaibergenov / 2009
UNICEF Representative Ms.Hanaa Singer and UNICEF Nutrition officer Mrs. Aigul Nurgabilova at the exhibition.

ASTANA, Kazakhstan - 22 April 2009

The UN Children’s Fund has awarded the winners of the children’s art competition “Clever bread for clever boys and clever girls”. The art competition was held among art schools of Astana from 11 March to 6 Apirl 2009 with the initiative and support of the Kazakh Education and Science Ministry, UNICEF, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and Kazakhstan’s Union of Wheat Processors and Bakeries as part of the project called “The improvement of the health of Kazakhstan’s health through the consumption of bread made of fortified flour”. The winners and participants in the art contest received prizes and certificates from the organizers of the event.

Among 6-8-year-old participants Meruert Ingibayeva won first place (The Akbulak child development centre), Ayana Bagasharova (Children’s art school No3) and Yekaterina Kolyada (The Balausa kindergarten No27) shared second place, and Ainur Sarbasova (Arts school No1), Maksim Rybin (The Balausa kindergarten No27) and Chingiz Karishev (Arts school No1) shared third place.

Among 9-11-year-old children Isakhan Shuyenshaliyev and Viktoriya Scherbatykh (both from Arts school No1) shared first place, Anastasiya Khivrenko (Arts school No1) and Balzhan Isakova (Children’s art school No3) shared second place and third place was won by Gulyan Naubetova and Dzhamilya Abrayeva (both from Arts school No1).

Among 12-15-year-old participants Ainur Asbekova won first place (Children’s art school No3), Yelaman Ablygazy (Arts school No1) and Inzhu Ualkhanova (Children’s art school No3) won second place, and Irina Kurchatova, Togzhan Mendykarykyzy and Inna Shekhereva (all from Arts school No1) shared third place.

The competition’s aim was to increase consumers’ demand for fortified flour and bread made of fortified. According to UNICEF, at the moment about 45 per cent of women of reproductive age suffer from iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in Kazakhstan, which has a negative impact on their health and the health of their babies. The fortification of food with vitamins and minerals, in particular, the fortification of flour with iron and folic acid, is the most cost-effective and easiest way to curb anemia.

“Kazakhstan is rich in highly educated and intelligent people. Such art competitions help reveal and develop talents in children at early age. At the same time, the consumption of bread fortified with vitamins will further intellectual development of children,” UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan Hanaa Singer said at the awarding ceremony.

© UNICEF KZ / Khudaibergenov / 2009
Some of the young artists were also present when their paintings were on display in Astana.

The fortification of flour with important vitamins and minerals will considerably reduce maternal mortality, inborn defects among newborn babies, will further intellectual development of children and prevent anemia among children and women, said Hanaa Singer.

The Kazakh Academy for Nutrition at UNICEF’s order and GAIN’s support carried out in 2008 a study “The assessment of the level of anemia, knowledge, attitudes, practices and behaviour on flour fortification to improve the health of Kazakhstan’s population”. According to the results of the study, 44.9 per cent of children, 45.3 per cent of women and 28.1 per cent of men suffer from IDA, which amounts to 6.5 million of Kazakhstan’s citizens.

IDA affects the physical abilities of children and adults, their immune system, increases incidence of infectious diseases and worsens cognitive abilities and behaviour at any age. The deficiency in folic acid causes inborn defects in the embryo in the first four weeks of pregnancy, when women may even not know that they are pregnant.

According to the Damage Assessment Report for Kazakhstan (2004), every day eight children die in Kazakhstan because of the weak immune system caused by the severe IDA, every day two babies are born in Kazakhstan with severe innate defects because of the deficiency in folic acid in their mothers. In general, economic losses account for up to 5 per cent of Kazakhstan’s GDP every year because of the poor nutrition.

The adequate consumption of folic acid reduces the risk of developing cancer of the pancreas. The deficiency in folic acid leads to the incidence of the disease of prostate and adenoma among men.

For additional information, please contact

Aigul Nurgabilova, Nutirion Officer

Sultan Khudaibergenov, Communication Officer

Telephone: (3172) 326 206, 32 28 78, 32 28 64 (ext. 115, 112)



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