Child Health Now Campaign Launched to Highlight Child Malnutrition in Cambodia

Phnom Penh - September 17, 2013: World Vision launches the Child Health Now campaign to bring greater priority and action to address child malnutrition in Cambodia. Up to 40% of children in Cambodia are malnourished and, despite much progress being made in other areas, this number has seen very little change in the last decade.

Child Health Now is a public advocacy campaign calling on all Cambodians – public, youth, government – to think and look again at improving nutrition.

The launch event of Child Health Now will be attended by over 300 people from a variety of backgrounds. The primary address will be delivered by His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister and Chairperson of CARD, Yim Chhay Ly. Government ministries in CARD will also be present.

 “We’ve seen amazing progress in Cambodia but malnutrition rates remain too high” says World Vision Country Director Jason Evans. “Too often, nutrition is seen exclusively as a health issue, but to permanently improve nutrition for children we must work with a multi-sector approach that brings together water and sanitation, agriculture, education, health care, the private sector, and other key actors. Ongoing government coordination, under the leadership of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), is absolutely critical to our success for children.”

H.E. Dr Yim Chhay Ly, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of CARD, says, “The Royal Government of Cambodia strongly believes that improved nutrition in Cambodia can lead to improved education standards, better quality of labour, improved livelihoods, and reduced health costs nationally.”

Malnutrition can have long term and irreversible impacts. Children who are stunted (a result of persistent malnutrition) are less likely to perform well in school, are less resistant to infection and disease, and are less likely to be productive as adults. Nutrition rates can have direct consequences for Cambodia’s GDP and productivity, so prioritising nutrition is a smart investment.

The Deputy Prime Minister adds, “I believe most people are surprised when they discover the incredible effects poor nutrition can have on a child’s development and then the population as a whole”.

Importantly, good nutrition is not achieved by simply having enough food, but by ensuring children have access to the right foods at the right times, as well as health care, clean water and education. This also requires significant behaviour change across the Kingdom.

Jason Evans adds, “Every level of society can contribute to improved nutrition, whether it is parents changing feeding practices for their children or civil society working more collaboratively. We believe that together we can end preventable malnutrition in Cambodia”.

The launch of Child Health Now is being held at the Inter Continental Hotel in Phnom Penh on Tuesday 17 September, 7:45-11am. 

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