Plan International Cambodia yesterday launched its 1,000 Days Nutrition project in Stung Treng province for which it will spend $1.5 million for five years to provide better nutrition to children and women.
In a press release, Plan International said the project will directly benefit over 7,000 children under the age of six, including those with severe malnutrition, in Siem Bouk, Thala Borivat, and Sesan districts.
It noted that some 800 pregnant women, 3,100 men, parents, caregivers, village chiefs and health staff will also benefit from the project.
Yi Kimthan, Plan International deputy country director, said yesterday the government has sustained the country’s high economic performance for over a decade, allowing rapid progress in various sectors, including health.
He said that despite the government’s hard work, there remain gaps to fill, especially where maternal, infant and child nutrition is concerned.
Mr Kimthan said without proper attention, the issue will become a key hurdle and slow down Cambodia’s development.
He also cited documented successes which suggest appropriate care for the first 1,000 days, from conception until two years of age, is the most effective intervention to address child malnutrition.
He said that in terms of micro-nutrient deficiency, in particular anaemia among woman and children under five years old, 53 percent of women in Stung Treng of reproductive age are anaemic and 69 percent of children aged between six and 23 months also suffer.
“In the long run, stunted children are likely to face trouble in concentrating on their studies and drop out of school,” he said. “They will have poor development of knowledge and skills, be less productive and this will negatively impact them when they are adults, of childbearing age and beyond.”
Stung Treng province is the latest province targeted by Plan International after Ratanakkiri, Tboung Khum and Siem Reap where the project was implemented in 2011, 2004, and 2002 respectively.
Eam Ken, a Sre Russey commune council member in Thala Borvat district, said that the project will help children and women and that the local authority will educate them about nutrition and living in hygienic conditions.
“We hope that this project will help improve the children and women’s health and teach people, especially those in remote areas, about healthy living,” she said. “Sometimes we find it difficult to provide health services to those living in remote areas because there are no roads.”