JUBA, South Sudan – The UN agencies Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP), are launching a series of events over the upcoming week under the umbrella of “a healthy diet”. The events will promote healthy diets, locally produced nutritious food and good feeding practices contributing to healthier lives. The food and nutrition week will culminate in the celebration of Wold Food Day on 16 October, in Yambio.
On 9 October, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and partners will lead a panel discussion at Stafford University on “Promoting local perspective on healthy and sustainable diets in South Sudan”. The aim is for the panelists to explore key policy recommendations which can improve the food security situation in South Sudan.
On 14 October representatives from UN agencies and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security will discuss healthy diets on South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC). The aim of the programme is to raise awareness of the South Sudanese public on the importance and the benefits of healthy and nutritious food.
“Conflict, hunger and malnutrition are interwoven,” said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP Country Director in South Sudan. “We hope guns will fall silent and afford people a chance to re-build their livelihoods.”
On 15 October, UNICEF will be launching at Juba Grand Hotel its flagship report “The State of the World’s Children”, which will focus on nutrition. Prevalence of acute malnutrition among children in South Sudan is estimated at 16 per cent, which is above emergency threshold. It is expected that 1.3 million children will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2020. To tackle malnutrition, all the underlying causes must be addressed, ranging from poor hygiene practices causing diarrhoea, illnesses such as malaria and infant and young child feeding practices.
“Every child has the right to a healthy life and therefore every effort preventing malnutrition needs to be made,” said Dr Mohamed Ag Ayoya, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan. “We need a paradigm shift in our strategies to address malnutrition by combining treatment and prevention activities instead of focusing mainly on treatment. Healthy diets are crucial to bring the much-needed change. At the launch of our flagship publication we will discuss the best way forward with our partners.”
On 16 October FAO, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and partners will celebrate World Food Day in Yambio on the theme “Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World”. Celebrated each year on FAO’s anniversary, World Food Day highlights the need to step up efforts to end hunger and malnutrition and to ensure food security and healthy diets for all.
“Food security is not only about hunger and access to food, it is also about the quality of food and how it affects people’s wellbeing,” says Meshack Malo, FAO Representative in South Sudan. “World Food Day reminds us that food is central to the health of an individual. South Sudan is extremely fertile and rich in local nutritious food and by utilizing the nation’s full production potential, more people can live healthier lives.”
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UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work in South Sudan visit: www.unicef.org/southsudan