Govt to implement second Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Plan in all 77 districts

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Govt to implement second Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Plan in all 77 districts

Dec 1, 2017-The government has approved a five-year plan on fighting malnutrition in the country which aims to drastically improve the status on prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight, among others.

Approved by the Cabinet on November 19, the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Plan (MSNP)-2 will be implemented through the involvement of nine government agencies.

The MSNP-2 is the extension of the MSPN that was implemented in 28 districts from 2013 to 2017. The second phase programme will be implemented in all 77 districts with an expected budget of $489 million until 2022.

The MSNP has put a major focus on mother and child in its initial 1,000 days—nine-month pregnancy (270 days) and another two years (730 days). “A child faces irreversible consequences if not taken proper care during the first 1,000 days. The ramification of this neglect of nutrition of children and their mothers can be seen in the development and economy of the country,” said Dr Geeta Bhakta Joshi, a member of the National Planning Commission. “Realising this crucial facet of development, the government has agreed to extend the ongoing nutrition programme.”

The NPC is leading the programme that brings together all the concerned government agencies that have direct and indirect contribution in enhancing the nutrition status of mothers and their children.

In the MSNP-2, the Ministry of Health is tasked with increasing breastfeeding, supplying micro-nutrients supplementation and management of severe acute malnutrition cases, among others. The Ministry of Education will work to expand its school day-meal programme, while helping in improving knowledge and practices on nutrition.

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Similarly, the Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation is assigned with the task of ensuring the increased access to safe drinking water and encouraging use of improved toilets. The Ministry of Agriculture Development will increase accessibility, availability of foods while reducing the workload for women, specially expecting and postpartum mothers. The Ministry of Livestock Development will increase accessibility, availability and consumption of animal source foods.

According to officials, the second phase of the MSNP will run on successes and learning of the first phase programme.

The prevalence of stunting of under-5 children was 40.5 percent in 2011 that has been reduced to 35.8 percent in 2016, they said, adding that the wasting has been reduced to 9.7 percent in 2016 from 10.9 percent in 2011.

With the implementation of the second phase of programme, the government aims to reduce the stunting to 28 percent by 2022; wasting by 7 percent and low birth weight by 10 percent among other improvements.

However, there has not been improvement in trends of anemia, according to a recent data. The Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2016 shows that the prevalence of anemia in women of reproductive age has increased to 40.8 percent in 2016 to 35 percent in 2011.

According to Raj Kumar Pokhrel, chief of nutrition section of Child Health Division, anemia is a major focus area of the government. He said they have conducted a micro-nutrient survey to understand in detail the cause of anemia and adopt necessary intervention.

According to the NPC, it is estimated that malnutrition in Nepal contributes to about 50 percent of child deaths or about 25,000 deaths per year.

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$489m programme

  • The second phase programme of MSPN will be implemented in all 77 districts with an expected budget of $489 million until 2022
  • It will focus on mother and child in its initial 1,000 days—nine-month pregnancy (270 days) and another two years (730 days)
  • The NPC is leading the programme that brings together all the oncerned government agencies that have direct and indirect contribution in enhancing the nutrition status of mothers and their children.
Published: 01-12-2017 08:36 
The Kathmandu Post (Manish Gautam, Kathmandu)
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