WHO Launches Regional Nutrition Strategy
WHO Launches Regional Nutrition Strategy12/12/2019
As part of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases & Mental Health, which attended by more than 600 participants from different sectors from all around the world, a side Meeting on Nutrition convened today (Thursday) at the Mysk Hotel with the presence of H.E. Dr. Mohammed bin Saif Al-Hosni, Undersecretary of Ministry of Health for Health Affairs along with H.E. Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean and H.E. Dr. Akjimal Magtimova, WHO Representative to the Sultanate.
The Meeting aimed to help countries meet global nutrition-related targets, achieve food security, end all forms of malnutrition and improve nutrition throughout the life course by 2030.
On the sidelines of the Nutrition Meeting, the WHO launched a regional nutrition strategy to strengthen efforts to ensure universal access to healthy and sustainable diets and implement effective nutrition actions, in order to:
improve nutrition throughout the life-course, including for mothers, infants, children, adolescents and older people;
prevent undernutrition, overweight, obesity and diet related NCDs; and
support and protect nutrition in emergency situations.
This nutrition strategy is focused around the six key areas of action of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition; which are: Sustainable, resilient food systems for healthy diets, Aligned health systems providing universal coverage of essential nutrition actions, Social protection and nutrition education, Trade and investment for improved nutrition, Safe and supportive environments for nutrition at all ages, as well as Strengthened nutrition governance and accountability.
The strategy also recommends priority actions to transform food systems, implement taxes and improve social protection to improve nutrition through adoption of an integrated, multisectoral approach.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean stressed that Transformation of food systems is critical to improving access to healthy, sustainable diets and civil society have a key role in advocating for action on nutrition, in addition to food industry actors.
He also added “With just 10 years left, countries need to leverage current momentum to improve nutrition and access to healthy diets as they continue to move through nutrition and epidemiological transitions, and suffer from a high burden of diet-related NCDs, and others experience increases in undernutrition due to conflict and political instability”.
“This strategy presents a series of recommended priority actions to address malnutrition in all its forms and accelerate progress to meet the global targets, centred around the six key areas of action of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition for 2016–2025” said Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari.
During the Meeting, the WHO Regional Office awarded H.E. Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Saidi, Minister of Health for his leading role in supporting the nutrition programs and preparing successful programs to address all forms of malnutrition, encouraging breastfeeding, and implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
Malnutrition, in all its forms, is negatively impacting the health, well-being and sustainable development of people of all ages in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, particularly in those countries affected by conflict in which people are experiencing high levels of food insecurity, undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. In the Region, nearly 20.2 million children under-5 years of age are stunted by poor nutrition, while half of adult women (50.1%) and more than two in five men (43.8%) are overweight or obese, and over 15% of children and more than half of adolescents are overweight or obese. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), namely heart attacks and stroke, cancers, diabetes and lung disease, are cutting lives short. NCDs are now responsible for two thirds of deaths in the Region and unhealthy diet is a key contributor to this burden.