Nutri­tion pro­gram com­ing to Chin State in 2017

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTIKE NANDA WIN news­room@mm­times.com

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

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