Muscat: Oman is hosting UNICEF’s Annual Regional Meeting for all the heads of its nutritional programmes, currently being conducted in the Middle East and North Africa.
The event, which unites nutritional experts from the global organisation’s massive network under one roof, has been organised by the UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office (MENARO).
The multi-country meeting aims at improving early childhood nutrition in countries within the region. A number of country-specific experiences will be shared detailing success stories from Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, and Palestine, among other participating nations.
Speaking about the nutritional issues in Oman and the region, UNICEF Regional Director Geert Cappelaere said, “Malnutrition is an important problem in the Middle East and North Africa.”
It is an important problem and a growing problem across the region, he emphasised.
“Oman should be very, very proud because Oman’s leadership has made a commitment to conduct an impressive survey, taking stock of what the reality is in this country when it comes to malnutrition.
The survey is an excellent piece of work. And it teaches us a number of things. First and foremost, it shows us that in Oman, a lot of progress has been made in tackling the problem of malnutrition,” said Cappelaere.
He added, “In the country, we see the problem of stunting going down, we see the problem of wasting going down, we see the problem of anaemia among women going down. Oman is in many forms an example not only for the Gulf countries, but for the Middle East and the world.”
The three-day meeting will be guided by the UNICEF’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 that reflects UNICEF’s new ambition for Maternal and Child Nutrition in support of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and its commitment to the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition
It will also touch on Oman’s experience, addressing high levels of obesity and raising cross-sectoral collaboration to improve the diets of children in the Middle East and North Africa region.