Improving Child Nutrition, The Achievable Imperative for Global Progress.
Unicef has published a report which offers evidence that real progress is being made in the fight against stunted growth – the hidden face of poverty for 165 million children under the age of five.
Stunting is caused by several factors including poor nutrition, lack of proper care, inadequate health care and an unhealthy environment in the 1,000-day period, covering pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life. Stunting is 100 per cent preventable. Children who suffer its consequences are among the most marginalized people on earth.
Stunting damages the very core of children – their growing brains. The harm is typically irreversible after age 2. The good news is, it is entirely preventable before that point. Stunting and other forms of undernutrition are reduced through a series of simple and proven steps such as improving women’s nutrition, early and exclusive breastfeeding, providing additional vitamins and minerals as well as appropriate food – especially in pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life.
For many years, UNICEF has worked to place nutrition higher on the global agenda. The new report highlights successes in scaling up nutrition and improving policies, programmes and behaviour change in 11 countries: Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, the United Republic of Tanzania and Viet Nam.
The report says that existing solutions and the work of new partnerships, including the Scaling Up Nutrition movement, create an unprecedented opportunity to address child undernutrition through countries accelerating progress through coordinated projects with donor support and measurable targets.
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