Good health, clean water and nutritious food are a child’s right
- Article 19, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989.
Daily we’re reminded a balanced diet and exercise are important for helping children develop strong, healthy bodies and minds. A poor diet lacking in nutrition can stunt a child and lead to permanent brain and cognitive incapacity. It can trap children in a lifetime cycle of illness, poverty and inequity. Sadly, poor nutrition contributes to more than a third of child deaths globally.
UNICEF’s nutrition programs deliver the health care, education and supplementary vitamins and minerals to ensure children are safe from malnutrition and its long term effects. Without minerals like iron, even mild anaemia can impair intellectual development. Without the right vitamins a child’s immune system is compromised leaving them at higher risk of disease and five times more likely to die from diarrhoea.
UNICEF helps children survive by providing expectant mothers, newborns and infants with the proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals they need through their early development, and delivers ongoing nutritional training and healthcare to parents and communities to ensure children thrive into adulthood.
UNICEF Australia currently supports the following nutrition programs:
- 1000 days Project Home Fortification with Multiple Micronutrients Lao PDR
- Scaling up the Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition in Indonesia (supported by the Australian Government)
Program snapshot: Life-saving care in remote Laos
With mining interests in Laos, MMG Limited noted high rates of malnutrition among children in the community and stepped forward to work with UNICEF, the Laos Ministry of Health and Population Services International to give Laos’ children the nutrition needed for healthy bodies and minds.
High levels of under nutrition remain one of the biggest challenges facing Laos and without significant intervention a whole generation of Lao children will not meet their physical and intellectual potential.
Enter the 1000 Day Project. The partnership brings together health professionals, civil society organisations, volunteers and pharmacists to distribute four million sachets of SuperKid supplements of vitamins, iron, zinc, and other nutrients for children in some of the most remote and disadvantaged regions of Laos. Where supplements are distributed, free clinics promoting good feeding and hygiene practices are open for mothers of children aged between six and 59 months –the first 1000 days of life.