Lao PDR Strengthens Collaboration with Researchers, Academia to Improve Nutrition for Mothers, Children

Ms Sisomboun Ounavong, Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and Convener of the NIPN Secretariate, Mr. Vincent Vire, the Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to the Lao PDR, and Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, Representative of UNICEF to the Lao PDR, on Sep 2 co-chaired the National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) dissemination meeting aimed at sharing the latest nutrition data to support research and academic work around nutrition in the country, as well as to introduce the NIPN dashboard and data repository to government stakeholders.
The blended meeting was attended in-person by heads of faculty and academic staff from the National University of the Lao PDR and the University of Health Sciences of the Lao PDR, as well as researchers from the Lao Tropical Health Institute, while students from various institutions also joined the meeting virtually.
“Today’s meeting provides us with a great opportunity to share the most up-to-date findings on nutrition, especially those assessing COVID-19’s socio-economic impacts and impacts on children, adolescents and women in the Lao PDR, along with findings on the factors behind stunting in the country and impacts of malnutrition on the country’s economy. These are essential for policy-makers and relevant to the work of researchers in the field of nutrition as well. With access to quality nutrition data, we will be able to better address nutrition challenges in the country, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Ms. Sisomboun Ounavong, Director General, Department of International Cooperation, MPI.
The meeting comes after the launch of the NIPN dashboard and data repository in February of this year, adigital system that helps monitor nutrition progress and results at national and sub-national levels.
The data repository also acts as a data bank that houses nutrition data from assessments and population-based surveys that could be accessed by nutrition stakeholders.
The launch of platform was a major milestone in the process of nutrition data generation and the meeting provided an opportunity to introduce and familiarize government stakeholders and researchers with the platform as a credible source of data for research and academic purposes.
“The EU is proud to have contributed towards improving nutrition in the Lao PDR, including the development of the NIPN dashboard and data repository, which is ultimately a contribution towards strengthening nutrition data generation in the Lao PDR to better support ongoing research and work in addressing the issue of malnutrition in the Lao PDR,” stated Mr. Vincent Vire, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to the Lao PDR.
“Our meeting today is the beginning of a series of actions to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice. We recognize the role that research institutions play in evidence generation, where the use of data and information is critical. We are thus happy to partner with them to strengthen research, quality data generation and evidence-based decision-making to contribute to the Government of the Lao PDR’s policy decisions,” stated Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to the Lao PDR.
The National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) project is an international initiative of the European Commission with support from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the UK Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Currently, the Lao PDR is one of the nine countries globally where NIPN is being implemented. This initiative is an integral part of the Government of the Lao PDR’s nutrition programme, which is supported jointly by the EU Delegation and UNICEF in the context of their Partnership for Improved Nutrition.

Source: Lao News Agency

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