Foreign Affairs

EU, UNICEF bring improved nutrition to the disadvantaged

The partnership between European Union and UNIEF has brought improved nutrition to people, especially children, in hard to reach areas of Huaphan Province where the rate of chronic malnutrition, stunting, among under-five children is higher than the national mean of 33 per cent and stands at 41 per cent.

The Partnership for Improved Nutrition (PIN) is a wider EU initiative under which several partnerships are formed.

The PIN partnership with UNICEF started in Jul 2016 with a total budget of EUR 14.7 million, with EUR 12.5 million contributed by the European Union and EUR 2.25 million contributed by UNICEF. The project has a nationwide coverage and targets 10 provinces of the Lao PDR.

The beneficiaries include Phongsaly, Luang Prabang, Luang Namtha, Huaphan, Bokeo, Xieng Khuang, Khammuan, Savannakhet, Saravan and Attapeu.

While progress in recent years in reducing the levels of stunting has been impressive, with a reduction of approximately 20 per cent between 2011 and 2017, rates remain very high with dire impact on the short and long term outcomes for children. Further, the rates of acute malnutrition, wasting, among children under five years of age significantly increased in Huaphan from 2 per cent in 2011 to 16 per cent in 2017.

In Samneuadistrict of Huaphan Province where the percentage of children who suffer acute malnutrition is very high, the partnership between UNICEF and the European Union has brought therapeutic foods commodities to children in need and capacity building to local health staff.

“This is what we require for the treatment of these young children. When they receive this important treatment, they are able to regain their good health,” saidUNICEF Representative Pia Rebello Britto.

The UNICEF Representative spoke highly of the cooperation and assistance from the European Union and acknowledged the leadership of the provincial health department in establishing health and nutrition facilities that bring treatment to people in need.

“We also grateful that our partnership with UNICEFis bringing good results and that we are working together because we are funding agencies, implementing agencies and partner with different partners and also with local and provincial authorities and we do understand that no one could be implementing those projects alone. We need everyone’s hands together and then we are getting good results,” said Ms Ina Marciulionyte, the European Union Ambassador to the Lao PDR.

Source: Lao News Agency