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A good start for Papua New Guinea – Advancing nutrition for all

  |   SUN Civil Society Network, SUN Country Network

Malnutrition in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been and continue to be a serious challenge. PNG has the fourth highest child stunting rate in the world with nearly 50 per cent of children being stunted, 14.3 per cent wasted and 24.8 per cent underweight as compared to other countries in the world according to the Global Nutrition Report 2018.

Stunting is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition. It happens as a result of poor nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, from the time they are conceived to the end of their second birthday, and it is irreversible.

However, the road to a ’smart, wise, fair, healthy and happy society’’  is gaining momentum amongst all stakeholders led by the government.  A Group of Civil Organizations led by Save the Children has the join the government and is now fully engaged in mobilizing national and international NGOs as well as provincial Authorities and other subnational organizations to work together in  improving nutrition status all over the country especially for children, adolescent girls and women.

Since 2016, Papua New Guinea became a member of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN). For the first time, the country is taking part in a Joint Annual Assessment meant to showcase achievements in the Country’s Nutrition commitments with other countries who are members of the Movement. After a year of hard work between the National Department of Planning and Monitoring, National Department of Health, UNICEF and Save the Children, there are now evident signs of progress on the benefit of working collaboratively. This is a good way to start as the Nutrition Policy and the Strategic Action Plan are being prepared for an official launched very soon.

On July 25, 2019 the SUN Civil Society Organizations represented by Anglicare PNG, Burnet Institute, and Population Services International led by Save the Children participated in three hours discussions on the efforts and contribution civil society is making towards the fight against malnutrition.

During the meeting, the SUN CSA Alliance was able to reflect on its work especially the collaboration between the Alliance and the Department of National Planning and Monitoring and those engagements it succeeded in creating at the provincial levels.

In the Coming days, the Alliance will encourage all the other networks to complete their part including a joint session to review the final scoring from all networks.

* Story developed by Sahr Nouwah, Senior Advocacy Coordinator, Save the Children in Papua New Guinea and member of the SUN Civil Society Alliance in PNG

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