Irish Aid backs project to fight micronutrient deficiency

December 12, 2014 9:50 am 

HA NOI, Dec. 11 — Irish Aid and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) yesterday held a workshop in Ha Noi to develop action plans to fight child malnutrition in Viet Nam, Laos and cambodia through the use of multi-nutrient powders (MNP).

The project, funded by Irish Aid, promotes optimal feeding practices with especial attention paid to home fortification solutions.

It will gear up local manufacturing of MNPs to be distributed through the health system, and run a campaign to change social behaviours, said Nuala O'Brien, Deputy Head of Mission at the Irish Embassy in Ha Noi.

"Ireland will continue to champion nutrition through Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN)— a partnership for collective action, and a framework for scaling up actions to deal with malnutrition.

"We are pleased to support Viet Nam, Laos and cambodia in addressing maternal, infant and child malnutrition so as to prevent stunting, especially focusing on the first 1,000 days from the beginning of a woman's pregnancy to the child's 2nd birthday," said O'Brien.

Dominic Schofield, director of GAIN Canada and senior technical advisor of policy and programmes said, "micronutrient powders are a proven, cost-effective approach to tackling micronutrient deficiency, when coupled with behaviour change programmes and targeted distribution through the health system.""We are happy to be sharing the lessons learned from our work in Viet Nam, which provides an innovative model of collaboration that can be scaled up and replicated across the region," he said.

Home fortification of foods with supplementary vitamins and minerals is an effective way to prevent micronutrient deficiencies.

MNPs are well-known products that are supported by the WHO and endorsed by UN agencies, NGOs and governments in more than 40 countries.

Presently, Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia are carrying out pilot projects to identify the best practices for implementing and scaling up MNP distribution as a way to improve infant and young children's diets. (PNA/VNS)



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