Multi-sector nutrition plan 2 in force

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu
The government plans to reduce stunting from 35.8 percent in 2016 to 28 in 2022. It also aims to reduce wasting from 9.7 percent in 2016 to 7 percent in 2022

Dec 15, 2017-The government has launched the Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan (MSNP)-2, aiming to wipe out malnutrition among women, children and adolescents in the next 10 years.

The Rs4.89 billion programme will run for the next five years and will be implemented in all the municipalities of the country. In the first phase, the programme will be implemented in the districts of the mid-western and far-western regions for those vulnerable in terms of nutrition and food security.

Health Minister Deepak Bohora formally launched the programme on Thursday. “Good nutrition symbolises many things. Good nutrition has been found to make an impact on early childhood development. It helps children’s brain growth, which helps them learn better at school,” said Bohora.

The minister reiterated the government’s commitment to curbing malnutrition. 

Over the next five years, the government plans to reduce stunting from 35.8 percent in 2016 to 28 in 2022. It also aims to reduce wasting from 9.7 percent in 2016 to 7 percent in 2022. 

Similar targets are set for underweight children and children below five, among others. Dr Geeta Bhakta Joshi, a member of the National Planning Commission, said that the MSNP-2 would aid achievement of the 2025 targets set by the World Health Assembly.

NPC Vice-chairperson Swarnim Wagle said reducing malnutrition had been the government’s topmost priority. “If a child is not taken proper care of during 

the first 1,000 days, the impact will be seen throughout their lives,” said Wagle.

The NPC leads the programme that brings together all the concerned government agencies that have direct and indirect contribution to enhancing the nutritional status of mothers and their children. In the MSNP-2, the Health Ministry is tasked with increasing breastfeeding, supplying micro-nutrient supplementation and management of severe acute malnutrition cases, among others. The Education Ministry will work to expand the school day-meal programme while helping improve nutrition knowledge and practices.

The Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation is assigned to ensure an increased access to safe drinking water and to encourage use of improved toilets. 

The Ministry of Agriculture Development will increase accessibility, availability of foods while reducing the workload for women, specially expecting women and post-partum mothers. 

The Ministry of Livestock Development will increase accessibility, availability and consumption of animal source foods.

The MSNP puts a major focus on mother and child in its initial 1,000 days--nine-month pregnancy (270 days) and another two years (730 days).

The government had earlier implemented MSNP that was implemented in 28 districts from 2013 to 2017. The MSNP is considered the most successful programme engaging multiple government agencies and donors and the non-government sector.

Many development agencies have already pledged their support to this endeavour. NPC estimates show that malnutrition in Nepal contributes to about 50 percent of child deaths or about 25,000 deaths per year.

Published: 15-12-2017 07:59

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