Innovative Survey Sheds Light on Nutritional Challenges in Bokeo Province

Feb 3, 2024

Bokeo Province, 1 February 2024 – The Lao Statistics Bureau, in collaboration with the European Union and UNICEF, has disseminated a groundbreaking provincial household survey in Bokeo Province this week at an event hosted by the Vice-Governor of the province. This survey, an integral part of a broader initiative to analyse households’ well-being, is poised to revolutionize the understanding of factors affecting children’s nutrition, health and welfare in the province.

Mme Phonesaly Souksavath, Head of the Lao Statistics Bureau, emphasized the survey’s significance. “These findings are a lynchpin in our efforts to comprehend the complex socio-economic factors at play in Bokeo. The rich data obtained is indispensable for crafting tailored interventions to address the nuanced needs of each district,” she noted.

Conducted across all districts of the province, the survey encompassed numerous households and villages, providing a comprehensive view of the nutritional landscape. It further reveals that within the province of Bokeo the situation for children differs across districts, highlighting the need for a tailored approach to address the determinants of malnutrition by district.

Dr. Sanong Thongsana, Vice Minister at the Ministry of Health, acknowledged the survey’s crucial role. “These insights are not just data points; they represent a significant leap in our understanding of health and nutrition within our communities. They are instrumental in shaping cost effective programmatic responses and reinforcing our commitment to holistic child development in Lao PDR,” he stated.

The survey’s findings are expected to significantly influence programme delivery, particularly in the realms of child welfare and development, marking a pivotal move towards data-driven governance. Central to the survey’s success was the technical support provided under the National Information Platform for Nutrition, funded by the European Union and UNICEF,  supporting nutritional data analysis for programmatic response and policymaking, thereby forming a vital link between this and other empirical evidence and actionable strategies against malnutrition.

Ms. Ina Marčiulionytė, European Union Ambassador to Lao PDR, reflected on the collaborative effort. “This survey is a testament to our collective commitment to child welfare in Lao PDR. Through such meticulous research, we aim to make a tangible impact on the lives of the most vulnerable,” she said. “As Bokeo Province and its partners strive to enhance the lives of residents, especially children, this survey stands as a critical step in addressing unique challenges across districts.”

Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR, highlighted the power of collaboration. “This survey exemplifies the remarkable achievements possible through united efforts. It provides invaluable insights into family challenges in Bokeo, steering us towards more effective strategies for child development and well-being.” She further added: “Targeted action to address the identified challenges in the services, practices and diets identified in this survey is needed urgently by all stakeholders. UNICEF stands ready to support the Province of Bokeo in its efforts to improve the lives of its children.”

The nutritional initiatives in Lao PDR adhere to the National Nutrition Strategy (2016-2025) and the second National Plan of Action for Nutrition (2021-2025). These frameworks aim to comprehensively tackle nutritional challenges through multi-sectoral cooperation in agriculture, health, and education. This includes the National Information Platform for Nutrition in Lao PDR which aims to strengthen the ability to use evidence to inform programs and policy to alleviate malnutrition. Easy access to data and evidence on nutrition including the Bokeo provincial household survey report can be found on the NIPN website

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