Kathmandu : President Bidya Devi Bhandari has launched the National Nutrition Campaign on Friday. An international non- government organization named, Baliyo Nepal, kicked off the campaign aimed at providing nutritious foods to the children from 6 months to 23 months, pregnant women and women of reproductive age.
The campaign has also aimed at assisting the second multi-sectoral nutrition work plan (2018-2022) which is currently being implemented by the National Planning Commission. The national drive is expected to create healthy and robust human resources with the consumption of nutritious foods. Both the government and private sectors are collaborating to implement the project which is financially and technically assisted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The first phase of the project is being enforced in State 5. Owing to the malnutrition, Nepal has been facing stunting problem. In 2001, the stunting was 55 percent among the children below five years, which reduced to 36 percent in 2016. The target is that it would be reduced to 15 percent in 2030. Similarly, in Nepal, 48 percent women from 20 to 49 age group get married before 20 years. Among the women giving births, only 50 percent breastfeed their babies within an hour.
At the programme organized at her residence, Shital Niwas, President Bhandari said although Nepal got achievement on some sectors of nutrition, it was yet to make improvement in others. “Government must pay attention to effectively implement the fundamental rights of children as to their access to education and health,” she stressed. The President expressed confidence that the national campaign would help realize the government’s goal of ending malnutrition by 2030. She suggested solid coordination among all layers of governments for the effective enforcement of the campaign.
Investment on nutrition helps produce able human resources, she added. On the occasion, Chief Minister at the State-5 Shankar Pokharel opined that the problems relating to nutritious foods would be solved if food items were produced by following nutrition criteria. He further argued to displace the junk foods by the homemade food items. Pokharel further thanked the organizer for selecting the State to launch the programme. Vice-Chair at the National Planning Commission Prof Dr Pushpa Raj Kandel argued that the programme would be helpful to materialize government’s campaign of Prosperous Nepal: Happy Nepali.
He also said that the access of nutritious food was also one of the criteria to upgrade Nepal from least developed to the developing country. Similarly, former NPC Vice-Chair Dr Swarnim Wagle shared that the access to nutritious food could produce healthy citizens. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Deputy Executive Director Kemal Chinda said that the Foundation will help increase the access to nutritious foods.