Myanmar is among the 24 high-burden countries with the largest number of children under five years old who are chronically malnourished (stunted) with more than one-third of Myanmar’s children suffering from stunting. Stunting is due to a wide range of causes, including poverty, illness, food insecurity, and lack of basic nutrition knowledge. In young children, malnutrition can be mitigated if mothers are supported to exclusively breastfeed their babies until the recommended six months of age, and have the knowledge and means to introduce healthy and nutritious complementary (first) foods to their young children. Less than a quarter of infants in Myanmar are exclusively breastfed, and many young children are fed diets deficient in protein, fat and essential vitamins and minerals.
Children who are stunted at an early age face irreparable damage to their physical and mental development, with serious consequences on cognitive, social and economic outcomes.
Myanmar signed up to the SUN (Scaling Up Nutrition) Global Movement in 2012, committing the country toward sustained public, political and financial actions to effectively address under nutrition in Myanmar.
What we do:
Save the Children’s nutrition programme aims to prevent malnutrition in the poorest and most vulnerable children and families by ensuring that households are able to meet their basic needs for nutritious foods. We support mothers – and communities – through education, outreach and other strategies, in recognising the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding and attaining the knowledge and resources to be able to provide their children with healthy complementary foods to promote optimal growth and development. Improving and developing household livelihoods opportunities in rural areas, and providing cash and fresh food vouchers to the most vulnerable mothers and households, helps to ensure that families can afford, access and utilise nutritious foods.
In peri-urban areas, Save the Children advocates with worksites to provide enabling environments for working mothers to continue exclusive breastfeeding. Save the Children’s humanitarian program identifies children suffering from acute malnutrition, and provides treatment and education to prevent malnutrition in the community. Save the Children currently hosts the SUN Movement Civil Society Alliance to unite civil society organisations to contribute to the national dialogue and actions to Scale Up Nutrition in Myanmar.