URC Community Health and Nutrition Project Co-sponsors Latin American Launch of The Lancet Global Nutrition Series

URC's community health and nutrition project, Nutri-Salud co-hosted a regional event June 6 in Guatemala City to help The Lancet launch its 2013 maternal and child nutrition series. The project, supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), hosted the event in collaboration with its partner, the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP); the Council of Ministers of Health from Central America; Central de Alimentos, S.A.; and the Pan American Health Organization.

The Lancet Series Significance

The Lancet's 2013 series is a follow-up to its 2008 series, which catalyzed the international community to put nutrition on the global health and development agenda. It identified "the first thousand days"—the critical period between the start of a woman's pregnancy and her child's second birthday, which can have a profound impact on the child's ability to lead a productive life to adulthood.

The 2013 series, authored by the Maternal and Child Nutrition Study Group—a renowned set of global health and development academics and practitioners—features new data and policy recommendations on global nutrition, including a call to action for greater investment in and prioritization of nutrition on the development agenda.

Guatemala Launch Event

The launch event served as a nutrition advocacy platform for the Latin America region, giving impetus to a call for action in combating chronic malnutrition. URC's Guatemala Country Director Dr. Hernán Delgado presented an analysis of the papers, and The Lancet series co-author Dr. Reynaldo Martorell presented and discussed the findings and call to action. 

More than 150 people attended the event, which was also broadcast on the Web throughout Latin America, including the seven INCAP member countries (Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama). Launch events also took place in London and Washington, DC, on June 6th; others will occur throughout the summer in Addis Ababa, New Delhi, Dhaka, and Islamabad.

Malnutrition in Guatemala

According to its National Maternal and Child Health Survey, Guatemala has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition, with more than half of its children suffering from chronic malnutrition. The problem manifests itself in stunted growth and diminished learning capacity.

To address this issue, Nutri-Salud, which draws on The Lancet's 2008 findings, is working in 30 municipalities in five departments of the country's Western Highlands to improve the nutritional status of women of reproductive age and children under five, focusing on the first thousand days. The project is also supporting the Guatemalan Ministry of Health's efforts to provide expanded health coverage at the community level and engage communities in active solutions to their health care needs.

URC manages Nutri-Salud in collaboration with INCAP, Mercy Corps, the Manoff Group, and the Cloudburst Group and receives strategic guidance from USAID.

Date 
June 19, 2013
Authors 
Fridah Wanjiku, Communications Intern, URC
Regions/ Countries