Myanmar observes 10th Anniversary of Nutrition Promotion Month and 21st Anniversary of World Breast Feeding Week
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The inaugural ceremony of the Nutrition Promotion Month was held in Nay Pyi Taw on 1 August 2012 with H.E Dr. Pe Thet Khin, Union Minister for Health as the Chief Guest of the ceremony. Also in attendance were Union Ministers for Education and Mining. The United Nations were represented by WHO Representative Dr. Tennakoon, UNICEF Deputy Representative Ms. Juanita Vasquez, also WFP and World Vision. Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation and Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association were also present as partners in the initiative.
The first week of Nutrition Promotion Month is being observed as the Breastfeeding Week; the second week as nutrition promotion for under-five children; the third week will be the nutrition promotion week for pregnant women and lactating mothers and the fourth as the week for elimination of iodine deficiency disorders.
“As nutrition promotion is a basic foundation for national development, the Ministry of Health is working to alleviate under-nutrition and promote the habit on eating balanced diet,” said H.E Dr. Pe Thet Khin, Union Minister for Health at the launching ceremony of Nutrition Promotion Month held on August 1 at the Ministry of Health in Nay Pyi Taw.
In collaboration with National Nutrition Centre (NNC), under the Ministry of Health, UNICEF first supported the observance of Nutrition Promotion Week in Myanmar in September 2003. Following a review on improving on the event since 2008, National Nutrition Promotion Month was observed in August every year.
“Since many years National Nutrition Centre of Department of Health and UNICEF have worked together to improve nutritional status in Myanmar. Together we also support multi-sectoral nutrition promotion and awareness activities. UNICEF is pleased to collaborate with the interventions of the Ministry of Health and other partners in interventions that lead to the reduction in infant, child and maternal morbidity and mortality,” said Ms. Juanita Vasquez, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Myanmar.
“Most under nutrition problems are preventable; however pregnant women and children face under nutrition every year. Which makes it necessary to reinforce nutritional activities to prevent malnutrition,” said Dr. Pe Thet Khin.
It was is observed that exclusive breast feeding can reduce under-five mortality by 13 percent and appropriate complementary feeding together with continued breast feeding can reduce by six percent.
UNICEF Myanmar provided financial, technical supplies and equipment and monitoring for nutrition promotion month activities through NNC, State/Regional nutrition team and basic health staff.
This year theme for world breastfeeding week ‘Understanding the past, planning for the future’ is celebrating 10 years of WHO and UNICEF’s Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding.
National Nutrition Centre (NNC) and UNICEF have worked together for past many years to deliver an integrated package of direct nutrition interventions during nutrition promotion month across the country. The package includes Vitamin A supplementation, deworming, iron and Vitamin B1 supplementation for pregnant women iodized salt testing in schools and markets essay and quiz competition in schools and cooking demonstration for maternal nutrition.
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