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Key outcomes of Rwanda First National Nutrition Summit

Nutrition Actions Plans to be implemented at district level

KIGALI, November 30, 2009 - At the end of a historic three day Summit to discuss nutrition as a foundation of sustainable development, over 250 delegates (national and international experts, practitioners and researchers from government ministries, universities and international organizations) came out with a consensus statement that reinforced the main elements of the Rwanda’s National Nutrition Policy and Nutrition Strategy.

Foremost amongst the consensus statements was the acknowledgement that adequate nutrition across the life cycle is a basic human right and integral to the achievement of the MDGs. Young children and women were named as the highest priority groups for nutrition programmes

Policies and actions to improve nutrition were noted as excellent financial investments with a greater focus on district planning and monitoring. For a more effective response, a multi-sectoral decentralized effort was required to tackle malnutrition.

Infant and Young Child Feeding recommendations were singled out for integration into all Primary Health Care and Mother and Child Health programmes. Baby Friendly Hospitals and the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding was also suggested along with a better understanding of how women’s empowerment and the role of men needs to be better recognized and incorporated into programmes.

Finally, and perhaps, most importantly, Community-Based Nutrition Promotion (CBNP) was recommended as the most effective approach to achieving sustainable results at scale.

The Nutrition Summit was organized by the Ministry of Health, with support from the UN in Rwanda (including UNICEF) to raise the profile of nutrition issues and move forward in improving cross sector programmes to eliminate malnutrition in Rwanda.

In Rwanda, 45 per cent of children under five are chronically malnourished or stunted.

Rwanda has recently begun implementing a national plan to address all forms of malnutrition, including deficiencies of macro and micronutrients for all ages and is one of the few countries in the world that is developing inter- and cross-sectoral nutrition action plans at the decentralized district level.

For more information, please contact:
Misbah M. Sheikh, Chief, Communication and External Relations, UNICEF Kigali
Tel + 250 252 59 27 00
Email: msheikh@unicef.org




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