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Papua New Guinea declares war on malnutrition

Papua New Guinea declares war on malnutrition

The government declared war on malnutrition this week when it launched its National Nutrition Policy and Action Plan in line with PNG’s Vision 2050. The departments of National Planning and Health jointly launched the policy and action plan in the nation’s capital. National Planning Minister…

October 11, 2019 - Last update: July 4, 2022

The government declared war on malnutrition this week when it launched its National Nutrition Policy and Action Plan in line with PNG’s Vision 2050. The departments of National Planning and Health jointly launched the policy and action plan in the nation’s capital.

National Planning Minister Sam Basil said the launching is a declaration of war on malnutrition which remains a pervasive public health concern and an obstacle to optimal socioeconomic development in Papua New Guinea. “Tonight is an important benchmark – a declaration of war in in the fight against malnutrition in all its ugly forms and its after-shocks to the population, the social development and the economic development of Papua New Guinea,” he said.

Mr Basil said that malnutrition is robbing the lives of mothers, babies and children as well as reducing the vitality of youths, causing brain-drain in our society as well as weighing down health services and deforming healthy citizens. “In summary, this malnutrition is halting the advance of our social and economic development – as a sovereign state.”

Mr Basil referred to a report published after a PNG National Nutrition Survey in 2015 alongside the UNICEF, that revealed a situation that PNG cannot be proud of. He said the reports cited that out of 1000 births, 23 are either stillborn or born dead; 45 die before reaching 12 months; and 58 die before reaching age 5. That is while 230 mothers out of 100,000 die while giving birth, and underweight, obesity, severe stunting, and anaemia are becoming all too normal for comfort. “All of these, and more, are national nutrition indicators,” he said.

“They are sad indicators that in this blessed land of ours – rich with organic foods where three balanced meals a day should be the norm; we have people, children who are starving. This starvation is not necessarily due to lack of food – but lack of proper, balanced, healthy and regular meals.” National Planning secretary Koney Samuel said the policy and strategic plan is at the heart of Vision 2050, to achieve a smart, wise, fair, healthy and happy society by
2050.

“Among many health issues affecting the country today, malnutrition remains an endemic and systemic health issue in our country and concerted efforts through policy and strategic interventions are critical to addressing this issue,” he said.

 

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Papua New Guinea