NIPN project organized the Fourth Annual Dissemination Meeting for the National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) so called NIPN Day, to share new research findings that will help Lao PDR address various nutrition-related challenges for children and women. Furthermore, this meeting was a chance for launching the second phase of the National Information Platforms for Nutrition.
The meeting was chaired by Dr. Sathabandith Insixiengmai, Vice Minister of Ministry of Planning and Investment, were co-chaired by Dr. Kikeo Chanthabouly, Vice President of Lao Academy Social and Economic Science, Mr. Niall Leonard, Charge d’ Affaires of the European Union Delegation to the Lao PDR, and Mr. Arturo Romboli, UNICEF Deputy Representative to Lao PDR.
During the meeting, the Data Analysis Unit and Policy Analysis Unit of NIPN, including the Lao Statistics Bureau, the Development Research Institute and Training Center, and the Socio-economic Policy Research Institute of the Lao Academy of Social and Economic Sciences presented new research to nutrition stakeholders in Lao PDR to help deepen their understanding about the deprivations in nutrition that Lao children continue to face and to facilitate discussion on how to address these challenges. More specifically, findings from the recent Provincial Household Survey 2022 targeting Bokeo, Houaphanh, Phongsaly, and Saravane provinces were shared. Moreover, some international organizations such as World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF, the National University of Laos (NUoL), and the Nutrition Center also presented the research findings on the drivers of dietary choices and snack food environment of primary school children, diet quality monitoring, food system profile, and review of multisectoral coordination for nutrition in Laos respectively.
“Evidence-based interventions are key to effectively addressing malnutrition in Lao PDR and the latest findings presented today will help inform policy-makers and those working in the field of nutrition to better plan, budget and monitor nutrition interventions as well as identify other innovative solutions to nutrition challenges,” said H.E. Dr. Sathabandith Insixiengmai, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment and Convener of the NIPN Advisory Committee.
Some of the key findings presented during the meeting revealed that there are still disparities in dietary diversity and meal frequency coverage among children under five years old in rural areas or from ethnic backgrounds in certain provinces. Studies also highlighted the importance of promoting nutrition education among mothers to improve children’s feeding practices and subsequently their nutritional well-being, alongside the need improve the diet quality in Lao PDR, especially in lowering the consumption of processed foods and sweets among school children.
“The launch of phase two of National Information Platforms for Nutrition is a new milestone for nutrition in Lao PDR. Our focus in this new phase will be on scaling up the initiative at the sub-national level and ensuring its sustainable implementation by building on the recent findings from the evaluation of the first phase,” explained Mr. Niall Leonard, Charge d’ Affaires of the European Union Delegation to the Lao PDR. “The EU is proud to be working with the Lao Government to support Lao PDR’s National Nutrition Strategy 2016-2025,” he added.
“Results from this meeting will help inform the broader discussion at the National Nutrition Forum this year around how we can meet the nutrition needs of all children and women in Lao PDR. In this regard, multi-sectoral coordination is key and UNICEF considers it a great privilege to be able to work alongside the Lao Government and our partners, such as the EU, to improve situation of children and women in Lao PDR,” stated Mr. Arturo Romboli, UNICEF Deputy Representative to Lao PDR.
A newer and improved version of the dashboard and data repository for the National Information Platforms for Nutrition, launched in 2021, was also unveiled at the meeting, the purpose of which is to help the Lao Government track various nutrition-related indicators and investments at the national and provincial levels. The dashboard and data repository can be accessed by the public as it is an open website (https://nipn.lsb.gov.la/).
The Fourth Annual Dissemination Meeting for the National Information Platforms for Nutrition is being organised as part of the Eighth National Nutrition Forum, which will be held on 21 February 2023. The forum is the biggest annual meeting whereby stakeholders from all across the country convene to discuss the nutrition priorities and challenges in Lao PDR for each year.