Nutrition program coming to Chin State in 2017
THE Maternal and Child Cash Transfer program will expand to Chin State starting in 2017, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement announced.
It aims to fight malnutrition through monthly cash payments from the mother’s second month of pregnancy until 1000 days later, when the child is about two years old.
The program exists in townships in Rakhine State and Ayeyarwady Region but this is the first time it will be implemented statewide.
Chin State is by some metrics considered the least developed in the country and new research shows that it also has the highest child mortality and stunted growth rates, Department of Social Welfare deputy director general Daw San San Aye said.
“Chin State is far away and the development is slow,” she said.
People in the state are all struggling and pregnant women cannot afford to spend this money on themselves, said Chin State’s Minister for Social Affairs Pau Lun Min Thang. The money may be used for other family members’ needs first, he said, so it will be important to raise awareness about the program.
“Most of the pregnant women are using their money for their other children and family members,” he said, expressing his only concern about the program. “The mother cannot afford to eat for herself. They will use this money for others. Thus we should raise awareness about the importance of the mother’s nutrition.”
The program will provide these mothers K15,000 (US$11.70) per month.
“We will collect accurate lists of who is pregnant,” he said. “We do not know exactly who is pregnant at this time. We already appointed social welfare staff in five cities, which previously had no staff. We would like to showcase the benefits of this program so that it might be included in the government budget across the country. The MCCT program will be supported by donors for two years. It will be difficult for the government to support this program immediately.”
The Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) is covering the cost of the first two years of the program.
‘We would like to showcase the benefits of this program [maternal health] program.’
Pau Lun Min Thang
Chin State minister for social affairs