Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health launched the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in the country at a ceremony on Wednesday in Hà Nội.
The movement follows Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s directive on strengthening multi-sectoral collaboration on nutrition across the country.
“The nutritional status of Vietnamese people is improving. Việt Nam is recognised by the international community as a spotlight in the achievement of Millennium Development Goals, especially for the continuous and sustainable reduction in the prevalence of underweight children less than five years old, from 31.9 per cent in 2001 to 13.8 per cent in 2016,” said Minister of Health Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến at the ceremony.
Tiến said Việt Nam still faced many difficulties and challenges, such as high stunting rate among children under five at 24.3 per cent in 2016, as well as large disparity among regions and ethnic groups.
She said overweight, obesity, metabolic disorders and nutrition-related non-communicable diseases were increasing rapidly in both children and adults, especially in urban areas. This situation is the result of limited awareness of nutrition’s role, lack of investment and effective interdisciplinary coordination, she said.
Micronutrient deficiencies have not been improved as expected. In children under five, the prevalence of sub-clinical vitamin A, iron deficiency leading to anaemia and zinc deficiency is 13 per cent, 27.8 per cent and 69.4 per cent, respectively. According to the health ministry, the rate of anaemia and zinc deficiency in pregnant women is 32.8 and 80.3 per cent, respectively,
“To promote nutritional status of Vietnamese people and raising the stature, physical strength and intelligence,” Tiến said, “the health sector will focus its activities on studying and developing policies and legal documents related to nutrition and promoting administrative reforms to produce and trade nutritious food products.”
“Priorities will be given to develop and implement programmes, plans and projects to address nutritional issues in the new situation, prioritising nutritional care for the first 1,000 days of life, adoption of good practices and effective interventions for improving nutrition that have been undertaken by the international community,” Tiến said.
At the event, Wivina Belmonte, deputy director of UNICEF for the Asia Pacific Region, emphasised the importance of nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life and the role of nutrition in the well-rounded development of children throughout different stages. She expressed her confidence in the Government’s strong determination to invest in nutrition and pledged to continue supporting Việt Nam in this area.
“We, as UNICEF, are committed to supporting the Government in this strengthening of multi-sectoral coordination, which will bring a strong stakeholdership into the implementation of the SUN principles. We are committed to bringing UNICEF global experiences in combating nutrition to support the Government,” Belmonte said.
“With the National Plan of Action for Nutrition 2017-20, there is now a key opportunity to put nutrition at the heart of sector policies and catalyse the funds needed to deliver a multi-sectoral approach to nutrition. Indeed, Việt Nam will be a leader in Asia and beyond if it takes this comprehensive approach,” Gerda Verburg, UN Assistant Secretary General and Global Coordinator of the SUN Movement, said at the ceremony.
Việt Nam has demonstrated a strong commitment to promoting nutrition. In January 2014, Việt Nam officially joined SUN, a global movement linking governments, United Nations organisations, social services, businesses and donors to eradicate all forms of malnutrition in the world. — VNS