UNICEF works to improve infant and young child nutrition, helping to ensure every child has the best start in life.
Turkmenistan has made visible progress in ensuring optimal nutrition for children and expecting mothers. With UNICEF’s support, the Government developed and implemented the National Nutrition Programme for 2013-2017 and is about to adopt the new cycle of the programme.
Challenges in nutrition still remain. Equity gaps in nutrition are identified among children from urban and rural areas, migrants, and vulnerable families. Among child nutrition indicators, the largest regional differences are found in the prevalence of stunting and overweight.
One in two children aged 6-59 months has vitamin A deficiency, which contributes to both child morbidity and mortality.
In the first five years of a child’s life, optimal nutrition fosters healthy growth and improves cognitive development. Turkmenistan introduced and funded the implementation of the Law on Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding. As a result, exclusive breastfeeding rate among children under 6 months of age increased to 59 per cent in 2016. Turkmenistan shows the highest rates of exclusive breastfeeding in Europe and Central Asia and has the fastest growing breastfeeding rates compared to other countries in the region.
You can see the tears of a new mom when she holds her baby for the first time – tears of happiness. It is so wonderful and gratifying to see this. Breastfeeding is not only good for the baby, it is also good for the mom.
UNICEF will support the government’s efforts in addressing stunting, overweight and obesity in children, implementing child growth monitoring and providing technical advice in the area of nutrition. This will be done in the framework of the new nutrition programme for 2020-2025, which will follow on the recommendations of the evaluation of the previous programme and focus on the reduction of the triple burden of malnutrition represented by stunting, obesity and anemia among children and their mothers.
UNICEF has been working with the Government in improving the nutrition and food security status of the most vulnerable, raising the capacity on nutrition, as well as building new partnerships through the Regional Nutrition Capacity Development and Partnership Platform launched in Ashgabat in 2018.
The initiative seeks to enhance capacities in the Europe and Central Asia region through training of specialized workforce at all levels of nutrition, enhanced leadership and governance, accelerated investments in food security and nutrition, evidence-based programming, inter-sectoral collaboration and improved accountability.