Fighting Malnutrition with Quality Data

The EU-UNICEF supported National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) is helping equip national and provincial legislators with reliable data to fight malnutrition.

Ayush Karki
Measurement
UNICEF Laos/2019/BVerweij
05 August 2022

Mr. Misay Mivilay and Mr. Khamphone Duangchaleun are provincial assembly members of Lao PDR’s northern province, Luang Namtha.  The Government of Lao PDR’s decentralization process allows for high-level policymakers like themselves to design policies and implement programmes in line with the National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) at the provincial level.

One of the key programmes of the provincial assembly members focuses on addressing malnutrition, which is among the most pressing issues in Lao PDR that can have enormous economic and human costs. However, malnutrition can also be prevented with high-impact, low-cost interventions at local levels

Group photo
UNICEF Laos/2022/AKarki
Luang Namtha provincial assembly members Mr. Misay Mivilay and Mr. Khamphone Duangchaleun use NIPN web platform to view nutrition data of their province.

For these interventions to work, policy makers must first be informed of the issues facing children, adolescents and women at the national and subnational level. The different conditions of every province need to be considered. To address malnutrition, policymakers need to know its magnitude, distribution and affected population.

The National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) is a platform that equips policymakers with reliable and quality data to facilitate effective planning, budgeting, and monitoring of nutrition.  The platform has an interactive web-based dashboard to help track nutrition results and investments. All NIPN products are updated and made accessible to users through the NIPN Dashboard. With just a click of a button, decision-makers like Mr. Mivilay and Mr. Duangchaleun can find out how many malnourished children have access to healthcare in Luang Namtha.

“It enables us to review and assess the performance of the provincial government against the indicators. The information helps us identify needs and take action,” says Mr. Duangchaleun.

 

A man speaking
UNICEF Laos/2022/AKarki
Mr. Khamphone Duangchaleun

The NIPN initiative also periodically shares new evidence and findings with nutrition stakeholders through national and subnational consultations. The dissemination meetings deepen policymaker’s understanding of deprivations facing children and helps solicit their support in addressing inequities.

In July 2022, a NIPN dissemination meeting for the Provincial Assembly from the northern region was organised in Luang Prabang.  Provincial Assembly members from the eight provinces, including Phongsaly, Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Bokeo, Houaphanh, Xiengkhouang, Luang Prabang and Xaysomboun participated in the meeting.

Visibility materials
UNICEF Laos/2022/AKarki
NIPN visibility materials
A man speaking
UNICEF Laos/2022/AKarki
Mr Mivilay at the NIPN Northern Region dissemination meeting.

“We will take home the information we received today to formulate local policies and track our targets,” says Mr Mivilay.  “If the target isn’t met, we will identify needs using the NIPN website as a source for reliable data,” further added the provincial assembly member.

Human capital development depends on good nutrition. Investments made on nutrition yields greater dividends for the country. Nutritional gains made over the years are now under threat due to COVID-19 and the triple effects of the current global Financial, Food and Fuel crises (3Fs). Despite fiscal challenges, nutrition and children's issues cannot be ignored as their growth cannot wait.

Children in classroom
UNICEF Laos/2019/BVerweij

The National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) raises awareness and knowledge on nutrition deprivations that children are facing in the country and share policy recommendations. Increased public financing for children is now needed more than ever. 

NIPN is an international initiative of the European Commission with support from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the UK Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In Lao PDR, NIPN is implemented by the government with the support of the European Union Delegation (EUD) and UNICEF in their Partnership for Improved Nutrition in support of the National Nutrition Strategy 2016-2025.

NIPN is set to be scaled up to six provinces under phase 2.

 

UNICEF Laos/2022