VIENTIANE – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the French Embassy in Vientiane have just returned from a visit to Luangnamtha province to see nutrition programmes implemented by the Provincial Ministry of Health with the support of WFP.
From 25-27th March, French Ambassador to Lao PDR, H.E. Mr. Yves Carmona and WFP Deputy Country Director Mr. Paul Howe visited health centres and villages where the programme is working to prevent chronic malnutrition (also known as stunting) in children under 2 years of age through the provision of specialised supplementary nutritious foods.
Pregnant and nursing mothers are also encouraged to make proper use of health facilities through the incentive of an additional rice and supplementary nutritious food ration.
“This programme helps ensure that young children receive the nutrients they need to grow to their full physical and mental potential. We believe it is critical to the well-being of the next generation and the country's long-term development,” said Howe.
The French Government contributed €300,000 to WFP’s Mother and Child Health and Nutrition programme in 2012. These funds have been used specifically to provide specialised nutritious foods for children aged between 6 and 23 months.
“France is following closely Laos’ efforts to improve nutrition at the local level,” said Ambassador Carmona. “The results of the Mother and Child Health and Nutrition programme are encouraging, as there is an increasing number of people who are going to health centres in the districts that I visited. This is a positive sign for long-term development.”
On Tuesday, the mission travelled to Kokmoung village and Donamai village in Sing district. In Kokmoung health centre, they spoke to women having pre- and post-natal health checks. In Donmai village, the team heard from mothers about the impact of specialised foods on their children’s development.
On Wednesday, the team visited Namkone village in Namtha district to see WFP’s Feeding the Future nutrition education activities which are designed to increase nutrition knowledge among villagers and to improve their diets by using nutritious foods available locally. The mission also saw villagers attending a cooking session and members of the team had the chance to taste some local foods based on nutritious recipes.
WFP’s nutrition programmes are made possible by generous contributions from key donors, including France. This support allows WFP to work with the Lao Government to address malnutrition, alongside the National Nutrition Strategy and Plan for Action and the Lao 7th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP).
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.
In 2012, WFP Lao PDR provided 3,281 tons of food to more than 225,000 people throughout the country. To learn more about WFP operations in Lao PDR: Visit our website: http://www.wfp.org/countries/laos
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For more information please contact:
WFP Public Information Officer, Lao PDR
Tel: (856-21) 330 300 ext. 2225
Mob: (856-20) 54043577
French Embassy Vientiane
Tel: (856-21) 267412