On 14 December 2017, the Government of Nepal launched the Multisector Nutrition Plan (MSNP) II (2018-2022), targeting women, children and adolescent girls in the country – an area where the EU has been involved in Nepal since early 2016. "The EU is proud to support Nepal’s efforts to improve the nutritional status in the country", said H.E Ms. Veronica Cody, EU Ambassador. "With our concerted efforts we should be able to root out malnutrition from the country, which increases the burden of disease and also causes loss of human capital and economic productivity of the country. It starts with undernourished children who suffer irreparable intellectual impairment and stunted physical growth, and make less productive students as well as unhealthy workers. Cumulatively, this results in impoverished families and communities and an overburdened health care system."
Approximately 36% of Nepal’s children suffer from stunting, 10% from wasting and almost 53% from anemia. Forty-one percent of women of reproductive age suffer from anemia and 17% from long term energy deficiencies. These statistics differ by geographical region and social group. The Government of Nepal targets to reduce the rate of stunting from 36 percent to 24 percent by the year 2025 and to 14 percent by 2030.
Highlighting the achievements of the first phase of MSNP, Dr. Swarnim Wagle, Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission and Chairperson of the High Level Nutrition and Food Security Steering Committee, said that tackling malnutrition in an integrated way was important to resolve coordination failures typical in multi-sectoral policy interventions. "MSNP II has thus been conceptualized to provide continuity to the achievements of MSNP I (2013-2017)", said Dr. Wagle. He also said, "This new plan related to health and nutrition aims to make a crucial contribution to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and help reap the benefits of the demographic dividend by investing now to ensure a healthier and economically productive population tomorrow."
MSNP is being implemented by the Government of Nepal in collaboration with various development partners. The European Union, through UNICEF, has been supporting the Government of Nepal to scale up MSNP through a programme for improved nutrition among more than 300 local authorities across 30 districts. In addition, the World Bank is supporting the Government’s drive against malnutrition in fifteen districts. Also USAID has supported the Government to implement similar programmes in 40 districts.