The Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN CSA) hosted by the Save the Children in Yangon on Tuesday called on civil society organizations to join the movement to eradicate malnutrition in Myanmar.
Across the country, at least 1 in 3 children under age five are stunted, which means they are too short for their age. In some parts of the country, more than half of children are stunted. Stunting at a young age can result in irreparable damage on a child’s physical and mental development. Among pregnant women, over 70 per cent are found to be anaemic, which means mothers do not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body and to the baby. All these affect the country’s sustainable development.
“We know that investing in nutrition works. On average, for every dollar that governments around the globe invest in nutrition to reduce stunting, they see a return of 16 times as much due to increased productivity,” said Dr San San Myint, programme manager for the SUN CSA.
“However, as individual organizations serving mothers and children around the country, we have not been able to tackle the prevalence of stunting, wasting and anaemia in Myanmar. A collective effort across all civil society organizations in support of the National Plan of Action for food and nutrition is needed if we are to achieve our goal of eradicating malnutrition in Myanmar.”
The Myanmar government set out its National Plan of Action for food and nutrition in 2013, with the aim of reducing child stunting from 35 per cent to 30 per cent, and the number of anaemic women from 70 per cent to 60 per cent by 2016, among other goals.
“We have seen some success in improving the nutrition status of women and children in recent years, so we know that better nutrition for all is possible. We are calling on civil society organizations to join us in our commitment to scale up nutrition in Myanmar.” Dr San San Myint added
The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement is a global movement led by countries for bringing different groups of people together – governments, civil society, the United Nations, donors, business and scientists – in a collective action to improve nutrition. Myanmar government in May 2013 signed up to the SUN Global Movement, clearly demonstrating high-level ownership and responsibility for delivering sustainable solutions for addressing the nutrition problems.