World Vision, partners give boost to nutrition improvement

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - World Vision International to Laos (WVI) and their partnership will provide over EUR 11 million in assistance to Laos from 2019 to 2021 to improve nutrition in three southern provinces. 9811098032

A funding agreement was signed in Vientiane yesterday between WVI Country Programme Director, Mr Vibol Chap, and the provincial health departments involved.

The project is called “Partnership for Improved Nutrition, Accelerating Healthy Agriculture and Nutrition” (AHAN). 

The initiative will run for a period of two years and aims to improve the nutritional status of women of reproductive age (15-49) in Savannakhet, Saravan and Attpeu provinces.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Director General of the Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion under the Ministry of Health, Dr Bounpheng Philavong, said the project would help to improve the health of women and children and provide nutrition services in communities that have poor access to health services, of which there are many.

He said the project would build the capacity of these communities with regard to food production by focusing on nutrition-sensitive agriculture.

It would also improve the health of households by strengthening health service delivery, nutrition knowledge and care practices for mothers and caregivers, as well as providing better access to clean water and improved hygiene facilities.

The project aligns with the multi-sectoral convergence approach of the National Nutrition Strategy, to create supportive conditions for improved household nutrition.

By 2021, the project aims to have improved the nutrition of almost 24,000 women aged 15-49 and over 11,000 children under five across 12 districts in Savannakhet, Saravan, and Attapeu provinces. 

Mr Vibol said the project will have a strong focus on the first 1,000 days of life which is critical in addressing childhood malnutrition and tackles the underlying causes of undernutrition, which are rooted to the inter-linkage between agriculture, nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as gender.

The well-being of children is an investment in the nation of Laos, he added. A well-nourished and well-informed mother will be able to better ensure her children's nutrition and well-being.

WVI Laos will collaborate with the government and partners across sectors to help change behaviour within communities and reinforce better nutrition within households for the long-term, he added.

WVI Laos will partner with the Lao government, the EU, Agronomes et Veterinaries Sans Frontiers, Green Community Development Association, and the Burnet Institute. 

The EU Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Mr Leo Faber, said this constitutes one of the three main pillars of the Partnership for Improved Nutrition, by supporting the implementation of a multistep approach in addressing the malnutrition challenges across the southern provinces.

“I am confident that this action will contribute to actively tackling this silent national emergency, as it is designed to provide a holistic partnership with the relevant set of government and civil society stakeholders,” he added.