New survey sheds light on drivers of malnutrition among children in Phongsaly

Oct 15, 2023

Phongsaly, 3 October 2023 – The Lao Statistics Bureau recently shared the results from its first-ever provincial household survey on children with authorities of Phongsaly to support the province’s efforts to address malnutrition among children. In a landmark initiative, the Lao Statistics Bureau has partnered with the European Union and UNICEF for the first-ever provincial household survey, which provides data at the district level that will help authorities understand the underlying drivers of malnutrition to inform better nutrition policies. Four provinces have been selected for the survey, including Bokeo, Houaphanh, Phongsaly and Saravanh.

“I thank the European Union and UNICEF for their support with this survey, which provides us with valuable data to paint a more complete picture of the nutritional situation of children in the province,” said Mr. Thongsouk Paosouly, Director General of Planning and Investment of Phongsaly. Speaking at the dissemination meeting for the survey results, he also cautioned that while good progress has been made to address malnutrition in the province, further efforts are needed.”

According to the survey results, 42.4 per cent of children in Phongsaly aged 6-59 months are stunted while 21 per cent remain underweight. The survey in Phongsaly was conducted in all seven districts of the province and a total of 1539 households across 76 villages were sampled.

“This is the first time UNICEF and the Lao Statistics Bureau have conducted a provincial household survey to generate district disaggregated data with the express purpose of informing programmes related to children’s well-being, including in the area of nutrition,” explained Mme Phonesaly Souksavath, President of the Lao Statistics Bureau.

Lao PDR’s nutrition programmes are guided by the National Nutrition Strategy (NNS) 2016-2025, and the second National Plan of Action for Nutrition (NPAN II) 2021-2025. These documents guide multi-sectoral nutrition actions across various sectors such as agriculture, health and education.

The findings of a qualitative assessment that was jointly conducted by the Development Research Institute and the Lao Academy for Social and Economic Sciences (LASES) under the NIPN initiative was also disseminated. It sheds light on the drivers of malnutrition in the Phongsally for evidence-based decisions and interventions.

While current macroeconomic and climate trends have put constraints on food security and nutrition, it is encouraging to note that the government and partners, including UNICEF, remain steadfast in our shared commitment to alleviating these burdens,” remarked Mr. Arturo Romboli, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Lao PDR. “As UNICEF marks its 50th year of cooperation with the Government of Lao PDR this year, we reiterate our firm commitment to the children of this country.”

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