KPL) A National Media participation meeting was organized by the Ministry of Information, Communication and Tourism (MICT) in Savannakhet Province on 20-25 September to promote nutrition advocacy in the Lao PDR.
(KPL) A National Media participation meeting was organized by the Ministry of Information, Communication and Tourism (MICT) in Savannakhet Province on 20-25 September to promote nutrition advocacy in the Lao PDR. With support from UNICEF and European Union, over 60 media officials representing key media outlets and youth media from all 18 provinces participated in the workshop.
Good nutrition boosts children’s physical and mental growth helping them perform better in school, earn more as an adult, and protect them from chronic illnesses. However, malnutrition in children remains a challenge in Lao PDR, especially children in rural areas.
“The causes of malnutrition are multidimensional with the majority of them associated with low awareness and perception,” said Mr Vannasin Simmavong, Deputy Director General of the Mass Media Department of MICT. “Media engagement in nutrition advocacy is imperative to reduce the rate of malnutrition,” he stressed.
The media is a source of health and nutrition information for the public. The national media meeting aims to support journalists to produce evidence-based stories on nutrition by enhancing capacity. The media were briefed on nutrition challenges, their role in addressing nutritional issues and accessing the National Information Platform for Nutrition (NIPN)’ for credible nutrition data.
The meeting also discussed topics such as raising awareness, reaching policymakers and making nutrition knowledge accessible to the public.
“Following this meeting, we hope our friends from the media will advocate good nutrition for every Lao child,” said Dr Sengdao Sidalay, Director of the Provincial Health Department of Savannakhet province. “We need to build an enabling environment for proper breastfeeding feeding practices, improved accessibility of nutritious food, hand washing and latrine utilization.”
Media also plays a key role in feeding policy debate with data, research, and other nutrition-related information. Stories produced by media make available research and nutrition findings visible to a massive audience –including citizens and decision-makers. In the workshop, the media officials also received training on accessing the National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN). The platform provides reliable and quality data to facilitate effective planning, budgeting, and monitoring of nutrition.
“NIPN has an interactive web-based dashboard to track nutrition data and results,” said Mr Tabongphet Phouthavong, UNICEF communication specialist. “With just a click of a button, journalists can now find out nutrition-related data such as the number of malnourished children in any province.”
“Media Lao Page is also a critical tool in promoting nutrition in Lao PDR as its members include all media professionals representing key media outlets in 18 provinces and central media. I urge Lao Media to take active participation in promoting nutrition,” added Mr. Tabongphet
The NIPN is an international initiative of the European Union. It is an integral part of the government’s nutrition programme, which is implemented jointly by the European Union Delegation (EU) and UNICEF.