Lao PDR makes progress on nutritional status of children

Mar 4, 2020

Vientiane, 9 December 2019 – New data on the progress on the nutritional status of children was shared today in Vientiane using the National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN), which aims at strengthening information systems for nutrition to prevent malnutrition and its consequences, showing advancement on implementing the National Nutrition Strategy. This is an international initiative of the European Union with support from the United Kingdom Department for International development (DFID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to be implemented in the Lao PDR by UNICEF.

The National Dissemination Meeting is the first to be organized since the NIPN was launched almost a year ago and brings together representatives of key line ministries and departments as well as staff from the provinces.

“The assessments and secondary analysis as well as the recommendations are extremely important for the Government of Lao PDR as they help us understand better the nutrition data and policy landscape. As we prepare the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan and sector action plans, the use of data and new evidence are extremely important in setting realistic targets and designing programmes that address the needs of our people” said H.E. Dr Kikeo Chantaboury, Vice Minister-MPI said, while adding that the National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) initiative is already playing a key role in making better use of evidence and data to design and implement nutrition related policies and programmes.

The assessments revealed that Lao PDR has strong national and sectoral policies as well as strategies that support implementation of nutrition interventions. This is backed by well-organized nutrition coordination mechanisms at the national and sub-national levels. Also, several information management systems have been established in the various sectors to support routine monitoring.

This nutrition information system will generate quality data, perform analyses, track progress and use the information for policy development, contributing to expanding and scaling up effective programmes, and allocating more public funding for nutrition activities. Thanks to this information platform children will benefit from better results. 

“Increasingly, we rely on the use of data for evidence-based planning and programming. It is the only way that we can ensure judicious use of scarce resources; be results oriented and be able to reach those who need our support most,” said Mr. Octavian Bivol, Representative of UNICEF Lao PDR. “Data is revolutionizing how we programme and measure results of our collective efforts. The NIPN initiative provides us a good opportunity to strengthen institutional data generation, analysis and use of data to influence policy and decision making in Lao PDR.”

The overall goal of NIPN is to contribute to the global reduction of stunting (chronic undernutrition) in alignment with the World Health Assembly 2025 targets. Particularly, this initiative will strengthen capacities in the Lao PDR to monitor progress towards under nutrition reduction, contributing to implement more cost-effective and evidence-based policies.

“Childhood stunting has been linked to lower levels of educational achievement and lower productivity in later life. This is worrisome if Lao PDR is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Closing the resource gaps between stunted and non-stunted children is, thus, extremely important and requires Government and development partners to consider reviewing existing nutrition policies and strategies to ensure that it addresses the key health and nutrition deprivations facing children in Laos,” stated Leo Faber, European Union Ambassador.

The NIPN initiative will be an integral part of the Government nutrition programme, which is supported and implemented jointly by EU Delegation and UNICEF in the context of their Partnership for Improved Nutrition in the Lao PDR in support of the National Nutrition Strategy to 2025 and Plan of Action 2016-2020.

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