Advocacy for Public Financing for Children – Nutrition in Lao PDR

As part of the policy influencing process and advocacy for Public Financing for Children – Nutrition, the Policy Analysis Unit (PAU) of the National Information Platforms on Nutrition (NIPN) organized a dissemination workshop in Luangprabang on 19th July 2022 to allow a dialogue on existing research findings on malnutrition.

The goal of the workshop was to inform policymakers, such as national and provincial assembly officials, of undernutrition issues facing children, adolescents, and women, and to contribute to evidence-based prioritization, planning, and budgeting at all government administrative levels.

The workshop was jointly opened by H.E. Dr. Kikeo Chanthabury, Vice-President of LASES and former Convener of NIPN Advisory Committee, Mr. Vongsavanh Thebphachanh, President of the Provincial Assembly of Luangprabang, and Dr. Pia Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR.

Attendees included high-level policymakers from the 8 provinces in the northern region (Phongsaly, Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Bokeo, Houaphanh, Xiengkhuang, Luangprabang, and Xaysomboun), as well as representatives from Provincial Department of Health and District Health Office in Luangprabang.

The evidence and findings disseminated with attendees included four studies carried out by the PAU of the SPRI and the Data Analysis Unit (DAU) of the Development Research Institute (DRI) under the NIPN initiative.

The four studies presented were (1) The Economic Consequences of Malnutrition in Lao PDR, (2) Qualitative assessment of the determinants of malnutrition with cases studies in four selected provinces, (3) Multi-sectoral approach and coordination on nutrition in Lao PDR, and (4) Determinants of stunting among children under 5 years old in Lao PDR.

Attendees were also introduced to the interactive web-based dashboard that had been developed to help track nutrition results and investments in the country.

The dissemination workshop deepened policymakers’ understanding of malnutrition deprivations facing children, adolescents, and women, and solicited their support in addressing these inequities.  This included advocating for increased public financing for children, especially for improving the nutrition situation among children and women.

Sound bites/quotations from participants;

  • “LDC status comes with many burdens that impact nutrition”
  • “We need to change attitude towards food – government has to do this research to change the attitude”
  • “Nutrition is not just food. Nutrition is good quality food”
  • “Asking for more financial/grant support from the project to the Provinces may not be as smart as asking for more lessons and deeper research”