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UN delegation on joint advocacy to support nutrition and child rights

07 December 2016 – Global Child Rights Advocate, Mrs. Graça Machel and UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Ms. Leila Pakkala, are in Namibia to lend support to Government’s on-going efforts to reduce malnutrition among children and fast track children’s rights.

The two arrived in the country on Wednesday and are set to meet with top Government officials, Members of Namibia’s National Assembly, Civil Society Organisations, UN Agencies and development partners, to strategize on how to increase investment towards nutrition as a way to ensure better returns on all development goals.

Discussions will also focus on how to strengthen multi-sectoral partnerships in response to the barriers to good nutrition; education and early childhood development, as well as setting up and enforcing legal frameworks to enhance better nutrition in the country.

Namibia’s successes and gains in child survival and in the fight against malnutrition, are a result of the ongoing partnerships we have with UN Agencies, Civil Society players and prominent child rights champions,” said Hon. Dr. Saara Kuugongelwa Amadhila, Prime Minister.

This visit of both Mrs. Machel and Ms. Pakkala is therefore a welcome reinforcement of the government’s on-going efforts to reduce the harmful impact of under nutrition on the health and social development of Namibia’s children and to find common solutions to the challenge.”

Malnutrition causes irreversible damage to the physical and mental development of the child. A child affected by malnutrition, especially in the first 1000 days of life will not reach their full physical and intellectual potential in future. Namibia has therefore strengthened efforts to reduce the multiple social and economic inequalities which influence the condition.

Commendable strides have been made in Namibia to reduce deaths and illness due to common childhood illnesses, including malnutrition. Under 5 deaths have been brought down from 4,200 per year in 1990 to less than 3,000 in 2013, while maternal mortality ratio has declined from 449 per 100,000 live births to 385 per 100,000 live births over the same period.

The visit by Mrs. Machel and Ms. Pakkala is a follow-up to the 2012 visit of Mrs. Machel to Namibia. Then still government reiterated willingness and commitment to heighten cooperation and partnership to fight malnutrition. The visit also builds on to the continued collaboration between the Government of Namibia; the |Namibian Alliance for Improved Nutrition (NAFIN) and UNICEF to sustain gains in child health and nutrition and find common solutions to resolve the outstanding issues.

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