The first 1000 days of life -from the start of a woman’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday- offers a critical window of opportunity to develop a strong foundation to shape a child’s future and the future of a society.
This is a period of rapid physical, cognitive and social development that requires optimal nutrition to provide the essential building blocks for brain development, healthy growth, a strong immune system, and protection from chronic disease later in life.
The right nutrition during this period is critical for brain development, healthy growth, a strong immune system, and protection from chronic disease later in life. If children do not get the right nutrients in the right quantities during this period, the damage is often irreversible.
Recognizing the importance of investing in this critical period of life, Government of Maldives of has accelerated efforts to provide the best of life to our children and launching and initiation of Social Behavior Change Communication Strategy (SBCC) - first 1000 days is a yet another remarkable step towards improving health of mothers and children.
The strategy aims to provide strategic direction and to guide actions within the scope of nutrition, from conception until a child is aged up to 2-years, towards the attainment of a healthier Maldivian population throughout the life-cycle. Key objectives of focusing on first 1000 days and launching the SBCC strategy is to enhance visibility and positioning of maternal nutrition and Infant young child feeding (IYCF) messages to promote and support change in maternal dietary and IYCF behaviours and social norms.
The event was aimed to bring together key stakeholders to a common platform where advocacy on translation of policy into action and highlighting role of policy makers to facilitate and upscale investment on maternal and child nutrition were envisioned.
During this event, the SBCC Strategy and a Mobile Application called “Yaagooth” was officially launched by Honorable Minister of Health Ameen Abdulla and Regional Director of UNICEF. The Mobile application aims to provide up-to date evidence-based guidance on nutrition and healthy eating to mothers and children. This application is now available for download from both Appstore and google play store.
There will be an exercise to showcase the faces of first 1000 days too. As part of the strategy implementation, advocacy using champions or eminent personalities to emphasis on the significance of the first 1000 days of life is a vital component to enhance public outreach. Advocacy and communication plays a unique role of creating demand for change and building consciousness about the importance of optimal nutrition during this critical period among the general public. Advocacy partners are expected to work towards engaging mothers, fathers, and members of the community in speaking about the nutrition issues they believe are most important in their own lives and enlisting them more directly and in coming up with solutions to those challenges.
This advocacy event was held on Thursday,1stAugust 2019 at Hotel Jen, Male’. The event was attended by Minister of Health Mr Abdulla Ameen, Regional Director to South East Asia, Ms. Jean Gough, UNICEF Country Representative Maldives M. Munir A. Safieldin, Dr Arvind Mathur, WHO Country Representative to Maldives, relevant Ministers of Cabinet and other political appointees and senior official of Ministry of Health, other key technical professionals in the fields such as Pediatricians, Physicians, Gynecologists, nutrition experts, other clinical experts, public health professionals, academics, and students are expected to participate in this event.
Mobile application download link: