KATHMANDU: Baliyo Nepal Nutrition Initiative, a project to improve nutritional status of Nepali children, has been launched amidst a programme organised here today.
The nutrition programme launched with the support of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aims to contribute to the nutrition-related objectives of government’s Multi-sector Nutrition Plan-II (2018-2022) and United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Nepal’s National Plan is in line with the set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN, in particular with SDG 1 eradicating poverty, and SDG 2 ending hunger and malnutrition.
Launching the programme today, President Bidya Devi Bhandari said that children were attracted towards junk foods because of commercial advertisements. She said that the children’s health should be top priority of the government as they were the future of the country. She also requested provincial and local governments to help the federal government fight agaisnt malnutrition.
The programme aims at reducing the risk of nutritional deficiencies among children aged between 6 and 23 months by promoting complementary feeding. “Partnering with private companies, we will increase consumption of eggs and fortified porridge and ensure accessibility to these products, said Swarnim Wagle, chair of Baliyo Nepal.
The first individual affordable single-serve sachets of fortified porridge will be launched in Nepal in December, beginning from Province 5.
The initiative has a range of interventions to improve food habits, with a focus on lower-income adolescent girls, women of reproductive age and children from 6 to 23 months.
The programme proposes ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. According to Nepal Demographic Health Survey-2016, 36 per cent children below five years of age were the victim of stunting, and 12 per cent children were severely stunted. (too short for their age).
As per National Action Plan 2016-2025 under the Zero Hunger initiative, Nepal aims to reduce stunting among children below five years of age by 15 per cent.
The organisation will be partnering with food companies that can make a real impact on nutritional quality, accessibility and affordability.
Our partners must meet a high nutritional standard, either by being naturally rich in nutrients or being fortified. To verify nutritional standards, we use the Australian Government’s Health Star Rating system and require all products to have a three star rating or higher, added Wagle.