On June 28, the Deputy Chairperson of the Majlisi Namoyandagon of Majlisi Oli (Chamber of Representatives of the Tajik Parliament) Khairinisso Yusufi and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Focal Point, First Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection of Population Dr Saida Umarzoda co-chaired the multistakeholder, high-level advocacy workshop on nutrition. The event, titled Tajikistan: Steps Towards Sustainable Provision of Nutrition, was organised for the members of the under-Parliament Committee on Population and Development and the donor community. The workshop was initiated by the Deputy Chairperson of the Chamber of Representatives of the Tajik Parliament and organised in cooperation between the National Secretariat of the Multisectoral Coordination Council for the SUN Global Movement under the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population, Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Plus (MQSUN+), GIZ and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The workshop provided a platform for:
- Discussing ways to improve the nutritional status of the population and ways to ensure the achievement of the national development goals of the Republic of Tajikistan through the improvement of nutrition;
- Introducing the current support under SUN and achievements of Tajikistan as a member-state to the members of the Parliament and Deputy Ministers;
- Engaging the different sectors in the development of the Multisectoral Nutrition Plan (MSNP) for the Republic of Tajikistan; and
- Strengthening cooperation on improving nutrition between the government agencies and other stakeholders.
In her opening speech, Dr Saida Umarzoda stressed the importance of good nutrition for mothers and children to ensure the human and economic capital for the country, particularly focused on exclusive breastfeeding for children during the first six months of life and the new strategy of the first 1,000 golden days of life of children as the best windows of opportunity. Her point was supported by the Representatives of UNICEF Luciano Calestini and the World Health Organization Igor Pokaniyevich in Tajikistan.
“One of the main principles of the Scaling Up Nutrition Global Movement is to establish multisectoral cooperation to improve nutrition, as the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population alone is unable to solve the problem of malnutrition in the country. With that in mind, we have developed a common results framework and begin our work to develop the Multisectoral Action Plan to improve nutrition. Good nutrition is key for the physical and mental development of children as well as the mother’s reproductive health, as malnutrition leads to poor mental and physical development of children and results in future economic losses of the national economy. In this regard, the Parliament of the country and the Ministries can lead joint actions to support the implementation of the national nutrition agenda,” Dr Saida Umarzoda, SUN Focal Point and First Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection of Population
Since joining the SUN Movement in September 2013, Tajikistan has made major strides in advancing nutrition as a national priority. Under leadership of the National SUN Coordinator, Tajikistan has initiated development of the MSNP, with technical assistance from MQSUN+ and continued support from GIZ and UNICEF. The workshop provided an opportunity for the nutrition experts, donors, international agencies, members of parliament and high-level government officials to discuss the current state of nutrition in Tajikistan, the importance of good nutrition for the mental and physical development of children, the potential economic gains from investment in nutrition, as well as the process of developing the first ever national multisectoral nutrition plan.
The forum helped to advocate for nutrition as a priority at the highest political level and engage government decision-makers and members of parliament on the issue of improving nutrition. One of the key resolutions adopted as a result of this workshop was to establish a SUN parliamentary network in Tajikistan to ensure nutrition as a national priority receives adequate political attention and public financing.