Action in ‘First 1000 Days’ vital to improving national nutrition
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has recognized the importance of nutrition in the first 1000 days of life and the significant role parents play in determining their children’s future, during a visit to one of Save the Children’s flagship nutrition programmes in Pakokku.
The visit, also attended by the Minister for Education, Minister for Health and Sport, Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Social Welfare, was an opportunity to bring together cross sectoral leaders to exchange knowledge and discuss solutions to Myanmar’s critical nutrition situation.
During her visit to Pakokku, the State Counsellor was shown results from the First 1000 Days Nutrition Programme. The Programme, funded by the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), has so far resulted in 44% of surveyed mothers able to afford more food - and 69% more variety of food.
Save the Children’s Country Director for Myanmar, Mr. Michael McGrath, says that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit demonstrates her commitment to finding and enacting solutions to improve nation-wide nutrition statistics which are currently limiting the country’s development.
“Save the Children is committed to working with the government and with other partners to improve nutrition – and to end stunting for all children in Myanmar, regardless of where they live,” Mr. McGrath said.
“We welcome the State Counsellor’s comments that we need to empower parents to deliver healthy nutrition over those first 1000 days and beyond. We agree that we need to educate parents about infant and young child feeding through a community approach that listens to the needs of people and respects local customs and traditions.”
“Save the Children also agrees that we need more research and evidence to help inform our strategies - and we welcome the opportunity to work with the government and our partners to realise this.”
Mr. McGrath welcomed comments that a separate coordination mechanism is needed to address nutrition due to the cross sectorial nature of the interventions required.
“To have a long lasting impact on national nutrition statistics and to end issues like stunting, we need to take a holistic, cross sectorial - and cross ministerial approach,” Mr. McGrath said.
“We need to promote and protect 1000-days practices such as breastfeeding and complementary feeding. At the same time, we must make sure that women of reproductive age have access to quality health care and access to enhanced social protection mechanisms.”
The First 1000 Days Nutrition Programme is funded by the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) - and implemented through Save the Children, MNMA, IPA and PGMF.