Nepal pledges to meeting sustainable development goal on nutrition

Kathmandu, Nov 5,  National Planning Commission (NPC) has said achieving the sustainable development goal related to nutrition was the top priority of the government. The NPC in a special press meet here today, the second day of fifth Global Gathering on Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), which kicked off Monday, said the second multi-sectoral nutrition strategy (2018-2022) was in the enforcement at ward level of all locals levels in the seven states.

The enforcement is coordinated by inter federal ministries. The four-day gathering began with the theme of “Nourishing people and planet together” is being participated by 1,200 representatives from 80 countries including Nepal. The Gathering takes place for the first time in the South Asia.

It may be noted that the SDG 2 seeks to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and to promote sustainable agriculture. Worldwide, in 2014, an estimated 158.6 million children under age 5 were affected by stunting (inadequate height for age). The SDG seeks to reduce this percentage to 15 percent by 2030.

On the occasion, NPC vice chair Dr Pushpa Raj Kandel said the ‘Golden 100 Days Programme’ targeted at pregnant women, children under five, and women of reproductive age had brought positive results to combat the malnutrition issues. Agricultural, health, drinking water, environment and food security programmes had contributed to the campaign for scaling up nutrition.

According to information shared by him, the government has the policy of involving private sector in the nutrition campaign and nutrition has been given priority in the government policies and programmes. In his response to a journalists’ query, he pledged continuous support and cooperation to the SUN movement in the days to come. Ivory Cost Vice President Daniel Duncan was of the view that nutrition goals were achievable only through coordinated efforts among the government, non-government and civil society.

The SUN Movement should be centered on the children below five and women of reproductive age group, he asserted. Countries involved to reduce malnutrition have taken the gathering with high importance. High delegates of different countries arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday to participate in the gathering. High-political leadership, policy makers, representatives of non-government organisations and nutrition experts have been participating in the gathering.

At the news conference, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that the investment on children below five would help bring economic transformation and urged stakeholders concerned to ensure regular supply of nutritious food to this population. She said, “The progress of the government of Nepal to reduce stunting rate on children below five is good.”

Similarly, Coordinator of SUN Movement, Gerda Verburg, called on bodies concerned to further invest in nutrition sector to achieve sustainable development goal related to nutrition. Likewise, NPC member Usha Jha said that the government of Nepal had accorded high priority to the world-wide campaign of reducing malnutrition so as to make it successful. Preparation meeting of the gathering among high leadership of countries associated to SUN Movement, foreign donor agencies and UN bodies was held on Monday, the first day of the gathering.

Twenty-five separate workshops on different issues including education, health, agriculture, women, children and social welfare, and drinking water related to nutrition sector have begun from today. Similarly, countries participating in the gathering have also started addressing the gathering regarding achievements gained by the countries in nutrition sector and further strategy to reduce malnutrition from today.

The Gathering will conclude by issuing the Kathmandu Declaration going through in-depth discussions about the management and supply of financial resources to minimise the malnutrition issue. The gathering will fix a venue for the next meeting. It may be noted that the NPC had first time implemented the five-year multi-sectoral nutrition plan in 2013.

With the successful implementation of the first project, the second plan is being implemented and it covers 610 local levels of 62 districts identified as the districts with a poor nutrition status. Nepal is as an active member of the SUN Campaign which aims to broaden the nutrition-related programmes worldwide and end malnutrition in all its forms.

The first gathering was held in America in 2013, the second in Italy in 2014 which was followed by the third in Italy in 2015 and the fourth in Abidjan in 2017. The statistics shows that one in every three children under five were either stunted or overweight or suffering from wasting across the world. Nepal’s scenario According to Nepal’s Demographic and Health Survey 2016, 36 percent children below five suffer stunted growth.

This figure was 55 percent in 2001. Similarly, 27 percent children of the same age group are underweight and 10 percent are affected by wasting, the Survey shows. Likewise 1.2 percent are overweight and the prevalence of women of reproductive age-group with obesity was recorded at 22 per cent while 17 per cent women were under-weight.

Similarly, the Nepal National Micronutrient Status Survey -2016 that assessed micronutrients status among representative populations in Nepal had concluded that 32 percent of the teenagers in the country were stunted due to the risk of food crisis. Children and adolescents are being deprived of going to school due to acute poverty and malnutrition resulting from Multi-dimensional poverty and under nutrition issues.

The number of the stunted children in the privileged family among the representative populations stood at 16.5 percent and around 50 percent of the children coming from under-privileged communities is stunted. Similarly, 48 percent of women of reproductive age group 20-25 is married before 20 and among new mothers, only 50 percent breastfeed their child within an hour of the birth.