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Namibia, 1 September 2014: “A Promise Renewed” for child survival and improved nutrition kick-off

1 September 2014, Windhoek – The Government of Namibia and its partners join the global movement on Child Survival Initiative today by launching “A Promise Renewed” – the Child Survival Strategy and Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Country Implementation Plan.

Global progress in reducing child deaths since 1990 has been significant. The annual number of under-five deaths has fallen from 12.6 million to 6.6 million between 1990 and 2012. 18,000 fewer children died each day in 2012 than did in 1990 — thanks to more effective and affordable treatments, innovative ways of delivering critical interventions to the poor and excluded, and sustained political commitment.

Despite rapid progress in reducing child deaths since 1990, the world is still failing to renew the promise of survival for its most vulnerable citizens. In developing countries nearly one-third of children are underweight or stunted. Under-nutrition interacts with repeated bouts of infectious disease, causing an estimated half of preventable child deaths annually. And its economic costs in terms of lost national productivity and economic growth are huge.

The recent Namibia Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS 2013) showed a decline in child and maternal mortality rates compared to 2006. Malnutrition especially in the form of stunting also decreases. Despite the decline, Namibia will miss the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 and 5 targets on child and maternal mortality rates, and MDG 1 on nutrition.

Under the umbrella of “A Promise Renewed”, the Child Survival Strategy aims to reduce under-five mortality rate from 54 in 2013 to 39 by 2015 and to 24 by 2018 and below 20 by 2035 as per Namibian’s pledge to global Child Survival Initiative. The strategy is costed with three budget scenarios of additional per capita funding that could rapidly reduce child mortality through strengthening i) family-oriented, community-based services; ii) populationoriented, schedulable services; and iii) individually-oriented, clinical services. There is also a Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Scorecard to monitor the progress.

“We are determined to implement this child survival strategy which calls for increased budget allocation to the Primary Health Care with focus on human resources, capacity building and supply of essential medicines/equipment so we can achieve the goal of child survival initiative – A Promise Renewed - to bring down child mortality rate below 20 per 1,000 live births by 2035” said the Minister of Health and Social Services Honorable Dr Richard Kamwi.

As part of the “A Promise Renewed”, the scaling up nutrition plan will reduce the percent of stunted under five children from 29% to 20% by 2016; reach all pregnant women and children under-5 with effective nutrition interventions; and, save the lives of 26,000 children under-5 by reducing stunting, increasing breastfeeding and treatment of severe acute malnutrition.

“We have strong will and political support in Namibia to make malnutrition a thing of the past. And the time to ‘act together is now’. Working with you all, we can make malnutrition history in Namibia” said Minister and Convener of the Namibian Alliance for Improved Nutrition (NAFIN) Honorable Nahas Angula.

Recent survey in Namibia showed the stunting rate among Under 5 Children reduced from 29 percent in 2006 to 26 in 2013. While welcoming the reduction but the progress has been slow. The scaling up nutrition country implementation plan is the multi-sectoral nutrition plan which is costed with a matrix of results to monitor the progress.

On behalf of UNICEF Regional Director Ms. Leila Pakkala, Mr. Mark Hereward said “the unwavering commitment and leadership of the Government of Namibia to keep the promise is worth noting as evidenced by its social sector investment especially in Education and Health Sectors. And I firmly believe that the Government is poised to deliver on the promise to give every child the best possible start in life” by Mr Mark Hereward, Deputy Regional Director of UNICEF Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa.

The launch was also witnessed by Yvonne Chaka Chaka, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and advocate for children to show solidarity with the Namibian Government on working towards Child Survival Initiative in Namibia and in Africa.

In her statement of solidarity, she stressed that “saving the lives of Namibian’s children is an investment in the future of the country. Healthy and safe children will have better education, smaller families and have better economic outcomes”. “Healthy, safe and well-educated families will have healthy, well-educated children. The brighter future for Namibia has to start now and we walk together as a team” she added.

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About UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.

For more information, please contact:

Esther Paulus, Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Health and Social Services, Tel: +264 61 203 2054,
pro@mhss.gov.na

Judy Matjila, UNICEF Windhoek, Tel: +264 61 204 6111, Cell: +264 81 127 5963, jmatjila@unicef.org

 

 
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