Address malnutrition


THEY say in any society, access to food and good nutrition is the cornerstone for good health and development.
Good nutrition is the key to good mental and physical health.
Eating a balanced diet is an important part of good health for everyone.
The kind and amount of food you eat affects the way you feel and how your body works.
On the flip side of the coin is what health experts term as poor nutrition, which can contribute to stress, tiredness and our capacity to work, and over time, it can contribute to the risk of developing some illnesses and other health problems such as being overweight or obese, tooth decay and high blood pressure.
In 2011, the Government released the Vision 2050 which is the road map for Papua New Guinea to reach the goal of becoming a smart, fair, wise, healthy and happy nation.
Nutritional planning involves formulation of a nutrition policy and overall long-term planning to improve production and supplies of food, ensure its equitable distribution and programmes to increase the purchasing power of people.
Across the world, malnutrition is pervasive and widespread.
Many associate malnutrition as only being a problem in countries on the brink of famine, but in fact, it is experienced in one way or another by nearly every country on earth.
Malnutrition is a universal problem that has many forms.
It affects most of the world’s population at some point in their life cycle, from infancy to old age. No country is untouched. It affects all geographies, all age groups, rich people and poor people,

and all sexes. It is truly a universal problem.
The malnutrition situation in PNG should be addressed through comprehensive management system as it is serious and a life threatening condition with terrible consequences.
It is no secret that malnutrition is a health emergency here and the underlying cause for the majority of deaths of children under the age of five.
According to the 2018 Global Nutrition Report, the Pacific is in a better position to tackle malnutrition globally than we have ever been. For example, we now know more about what people eat, why it matters and what needs to be done to improve diets.
Across the world, we are seeing the benefits of well-funded nutrition plans, with strong nutrition targets championed by influential decision makers.
Here we have the PNG national nutrition policy 2016-2026, which aims to focus and build momentum towards improved nutrition status, especially of the vulnerable groups, which is a prerequisite for a healthy and productive nation.
It represents the coming together of several Government departments, development partners and civil society, each with a stake in the delivering the outcomes of improvements in nutrition.
A multi-sectoral response is essential to address the multiple social determinants of malnutrition. The implementation of key nutrition strategies will make an important contribution to our PNG vision 2050 to improve the lives of all Papua New Guineas.
And it will need the political commitment from the government to drive it.
Every day, people around the world do not have enough food to support a healthy, active lifestyle.
Conflict, extreme weather events linked to climate change, economic slowdown and rapidly increasing overweight and obesity levels are reversing progress made in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.
Papua New Guinea is no exception to this as the country is not immune to any of those mentioned above.
For our nation to achieve this vision, addressing the nutrition challenges that face our country is very critical.