The Government of Lao PDR and Partners Call for Greater Commitments for Nutrition to Counteract the Impact of COVID-19

The Government of Lao PDR and Partners Call for Greater Commitments for Nutrition to Counteract the Impact of COVID-19

16 February 2022

The Seventh Annual Nutrition Forum provided an opportunity for a wide range of nutrition stakeholders to review the achievements and identify priorities for the improvement of nutrition in Lao PDR.

Vientiane, 16 February 2022 – The Deputy Prime Minister of Lao PDR and Chair of the National Nutrition Committee, H.E. Dr. Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, today chaired the Seventh National Nutrition Forum, which was organised by the National Nutrition Committee. The forum was also co-chaired by H.E. Ms. Ina Marčiulionytė, the European Union Ambassador to Lao PDR, and Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR, on behalf of development partners for food and nutrition security in Lao PDR.

The forum provided the relevant stakeholders with the opportunity to take stock of the implementation of the National Nutrition Strategy and Plan of Action and the achievements from 2021 related to nutrition, as well as to identify priorities pertaining to nutrition and convene stakeholders to take action in addressing the issue of malnutrition in Lao PDR.

“Despite the limitations imposed by COVID-19, we have achieved several important milestones that contribute to the improvement of nutrition in Lao PDR in 2021. Nevertheless, the nutrition situation in Lao PDR remains dire and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to have worsened the nutritional situation in country,” stated H.E. Dr. Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune. “It is well established that improving the nutritional status of infants, children, adolescents and women can not only save lives – it can boost the economy. Therefore, as Lao PDR prepares to transition from Least Developed Country category in 2026, the need to enhance our investments in nutrition is greater than ever” he added. 

This year’s theme for the forum is ‘Nutrition for Growth’, which highlights the inextricable link between investments in nutrition and the growth of children, communities and the economy. The forum brought together various nutrition stakeholders, ranging from ministers, deputy ministers and director generals of key line ministries, to Vice Governors, development partners, civil society organisations, mass organizations, members of the academia, the private sector and youth representatives.

During the meeting, development partners called for greater commitments for nutrition across all sectors and provinces in Lao PDR.

“In the previous year, we have worked with the Government to launch the 2021-2025 National Plan of Action on Nutrition (NPAN) and the National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) Dashboard, as well as to monitor the recent legislation on the protection of breastfeeding through the restriction of marketing and promotion of breast milk substitutes. While these achievements are commendable, we must continue to work together to consolidate our progress by increasing our investments in nutrition, including domestic funding for nutrition, exploring more innovative financing and leveraging other available resources. Strengthening human capacities to provide effective quality services reaching out to the most vulnerable is a condition to fight malnutrition in a sustainable manner”, said the European Union Ambassador to Lao PDR, H.E. Ms. Ina Marčiulionytė.

“In light of the many nutrition-related challenges that Lao PDR faces, particularly in the context of COVID-19, it is clear that greater action on nutrition is needed across all sectors, levels and stakeholders. We must work to create a stronger enabling environment for nutrition in Lao PDR, not only through legislation but also through greater accountability for results at all levels. We must strengthen the monitoring of nutrition interventions across all sectors and scale up our nutrition interventions across sectors so that more people have access to key nutrition services, especially the most vulnerable. Finally, we must collectively support efforts to increase the uptake of key nutrition and care related services, behaviors and practices. The time for action is now,” remarked Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR.

The Seventh Annual Nutrition Forum was led by the Government of Lao PDR with financial contribution from the European Union, the United States, UNICEF, the World Food Program (WFP) and SUN CSA Laos.

 

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For more information, please contact:
 

Dr. Phonesavanh Keonakhone, Acting Director Nutrition Centre. Telephone: +8562022208557. Email: phonesavanhkeonakhone64@gmail.com

Thongvone Sosamphan, Press and Culture Officer, EU Delegation to Laos

Telephone: +856 20 55569883. Email: Thongvone.sosamphan@eeas.europa.eu

Maria Fernandez Ruiz de Larrinaga, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Lao PDR. Telephone: +856 20 5551 9681. Email: mfernandez@unicef.org

Siliphot Sihaphom, Communication Officer (UNV), UNICEF Lao PDR

Tel: +856 20 5555 7019. Email:  ssihaphom@unicef.org

Media contacts

Maria Fernandez
Chief of Advocacy, Communication and Partnership
UNICEF Lao PDR
Tel: +856 21 487500 ext. 7508
Tel: +856 20 55519681

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