Vietnam – Japan workshop seeks to improve nutrition among mothers, childen

A workshop on solutions to improve nutrition for mothers and babies in the first 1,000 days of life was held in Hanoi on September 30.

The event was jointly organised by the National Children's Hospital (NCH), the Vietnam Paediatrics Association (VPA), the Vietnam Nutrition Association, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Asahi Group Foods JSC and the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam.

It offered a venue for policy makers, nutrition experts, and scientists from Vietnam and Japan to provide more scientific and practical grounds to improve malnutrition in Vietnamese children.

The workshop was also part of activities celebrating the 50th founding anniversary of the Vietnam - Japan diplomatic ties, thus tightening the friendship through cooperation in terms of healthcare and scientific research.

In his opening speech, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Minh Dien, President of the VPA and Director of NCH emphasised the important role played by nutrition in children's development.

He mentioned policy efforts related to health care and nutrition for children made by the Government and the Ministry of Health, as well as the support of international organisations in this work.

However, Dien noted that although Vietnam has made significant progress in reducing the rate of malnourished children in recent decades, the country is still one of 34 countries in the world facing the burden of malnutrition.

Statistics of UNICEF show that 1.8 million children under 5 years old in Vietnam suffer from stunting. Other statistics also show that only one-fourth of children under six months of age are exclusively breastfed and 59% of children are provided with a diverse and adequate weaning diet, he said.

According to recommendations from the World Health Organisation, the first 1,000 days of life - the time spanning roughly between conception and one’s second birthday - is a unique period of opportunity when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established. Therefore, ensuring adequate and appropriate nutrition for pregnant mothers and babies until two years old is extremely important.

He underlined the need to raise public awareness of diets for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers; and remind and improve knowledge for medical staff about the importance of nutrition in medical examination and treatment, and consultation on children's health care.

Vietnamese nutrition experts briefed participants on the situation related to child nutrition in the northern and southern regions, and “the first 1,000 days of life” strategy in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Japanese nutrition experts shared experiences in breastfeeding and weaning diet of Japanese mothers./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

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