Addressing nutrition deficiencies among children and pregnant women
UNICEF is supporting the Government of Uzbekistan in establishing evidence-based policies and programmes, to address nutrition deficiencies among children and pregnant women. The agency supports the development and implementation of a regulatory framework regarding nutrition and food fortifications, public awareness campaigns on nutritional and micronutrient deficiencies, and capacity development to monitor nutrition deficiencies.
UNICEF promotes breastfeeding and optimal feeding practices by introducing the Infant and Young Child Feeding program, and encouraging complementary feeding when children are aged 6 to 24 months old.
The agency also supports participatory, community-based programmes that ensure families are aware of and can provide children with adequate nutrition from an early age.
Achievements to date
- UNICEF provided technical support and facilitated the adoption of major policy documents in the area of nutrition such as the 'Elimination of Iodine Deficiency Disorders' (IDD) law, the 'National Nutrition Improvement Strategy for 2009-2011', and the law on the 'Prevention of Micronutrient Deficiencies Among the Population of Uzbekistan, 2010';
- UNICEF supported the capacity development of health professionals and the dissemination of recommended optimal feeding practices for children within the Infant and Young Child Feeding programme, which also includes Exclusive Breast Feeding, the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, and the Growth Development Monitoring direction;
- UNICEF supported the Ministry of Health in preventing vitamin A deficiency and complications of measles among children of 6-59 months. 98 per cent of children nationwide have benefited from vitamin A supplementation;
- UNICEF has introduced home-fortification programmes in Karakalpakstan, with an aim to reduce micronutrient deficiencies among children of 6-24 months old through the application of Infant and Young Child Feeding recommended practices in complementary feeding and supplementation of micronutrient powders (MNP). Preliminary results showed a decrease of anaemia rate among target group of children by up to 35 to 40 per cent;
- UNICEF supported the Ministry of Health in its efforts to promote exclusive breastfeeding among mothers and to ensure that breast milk substitutes are not promoted in health facilities. By 2010, 35 maternity hospitals and primary healthcare facilities were certified as baby-friendly.
The way forward
- UNICEF will continue to support the Ministry of Health in the further strengthening of healthcare systems, by applying modern child growth monitoring, analysis and decision-making mechanisms for the prevention of child stunting and wasting;
- UNICEF will facilitate and provide technical guidance regarding the application of globally-recommended Infant and Young Child Feeding essentials in medical education, and will continue to build the capacities of practicing medical doctors and nurses in nutrition counselling subjects;
- UNICEF will develop and implement a 'Community-Centred' approach directed towards enhancing the capacity of communities in regards to mother and child nutrition issues;
- UNICEF will continue to provide technical assistance for the elimination of micronutrient deficiencies such as iodine, iron and vitamin A deficiencies, through advocacy, the revision of regulatory frameworks, and the capacity building of professionals.