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South Sudan, 24 June 2013: South Sudan joins 40 countries to introduce a new movement to tackle malnutrition

A high level joint UN mission arrives in South Sudan to introduce Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN)  

Juba, South Sudan, 24 June 2013 – Malnutrition is a critical public health concern in South Sudan where an estimated 200,000 children under-five are at risk of being malnourished. Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates are also regularly above the WHO emergency threshold of 15%. 

A high level mission comprised of key UN agencies – UNICEF, WHO, FAO and WFP - are in the country to mobilise and leverage partnerships and commitments from the Government and stakeholders towards developing a road-map of introducing the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement in South Sudan.

The SUN Movement is a new effort to eliminate malnutrition in all its forms. It is founded on the principle that all people have a right to food and good nutrition. The global movement was launched in 2010 to support a framework for scaling up actions to address under-nutrition and the funding needed to support them. 40 countries have already joined the movement.

“The problem of under-nutrition is significant here where 31 per cent are stunted, and 23 per cent wasted, with wide variations across the ten states. Introduction of SUN would go a long way in combating the situation of nutrition in the country”, said Honourable Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Yatta Lori Lugor.

The SUN framework calls for two complementary approaches to reducing under-nutrition: direct nutrition specific interventions of proven effectiveness focusing on pregnant women and children aged less than two years, and implementation of nutrition sensitive sectoral strategies such as the  promotion of agriculture and food security and ensuring access to health care, clean water, and sanitation. 

“A new nation’s future is its children. And a critical aspect is proper nutrition among children where the data is alarming. We need a concerted effort to tackle malnutrition,” stressed Toby Lanzer, UN Resident Development and Humanitarian Co-ordinator. The UN agencies will make increased efforts to support the government in this important Initiative. 

Honorable Dr. Lugor added “South Sudan needs integrated and comprehensive policies and programming framework to address the under-nutrition (especially stunting) in line with SUN framework. South Sudan is not yet a member of this international platform. However, we are fully committed to join SUN movement which was reiterated by the South Sudan delegates at this year’s May meeting in Paris”.

The Government of the Republic of South Sudan with support from UN agencies and partners are responding to the situation of child and maternal under-nutrition by supporting both nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive programmes. The interventions include policy advocacy, planning and coordination, expansion of essential nutrition services, expanded partnerships and coverage, improved monitoring of malnutrition situation and improved programmatic linkages and community participation.

The three days joint mission in South Sudan including a stakeholders’ consultation workshop is expected to draft a road map for introducing SUN and guide the development of an Implementation Plan.

“It is unacceptable for children to continue dying from malnutrition that is preventable and curable. There is an urgent need to step up efforts to ensure a healthy future for children.” concluded H.E. Riek Machar, Vice President of South Sudan.


Notes to the editor:

** The SUN movement unites committed stakeholders including national governments, non-governmental organisations, UN systems agencies, civil society organisations, donors (multi-and bi-lateral) and many more to support a framework for scaling up actions to address under-nutrition and the funding needed to support them. 

** Implementing SUN in Sub Saharan African countries was more recently reiterated at the May 14-15, 2013 International Conference against Child Under-nutrition, hosted by UNICEF FRANCE, attended by delegates from 56 countries mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa. The South Sudan delegation was comprised of the Undersecretary of MoH, Director of Agronomy, Ministry of Agriculture and UNICEF South Sudan. 

** Stunted growth is a reduced growth rate in human development. It is a primary manifestation of malnutrition in early childhood, including malnutrition during fetal development brought on by the malnourished mother.  Growth stunting is identified by comparing measurements of children's heights to the growth reference population: children who fall below the fifth percentile of the reference population in height for age are defined as stunted, regardless of the reason. 

** In medicine, wasting, also known as wasting syndrome, refers to the process by which a debilitating disease causes muscle and fat tissue to "waste" away. Wasting is sometimes referred to as "acute malnutrition" because it is believed that episodes of wasting have a short duration, in contrast to stunting, which is regarded as chronic malnutrition.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Samson Paul Baba, Director General of Community and Public Health, Ministry of Health, 
Tel: + 211 (0) 955169303    Email:



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