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Date: 02/02/2024
Author: Minister's Office
Source: MoPH
Revision of the National Guideline on Prevention and Management of Wasting in Lebanon
The current crisis in Lebanon has resulted in an increasing trend in prevalence of malnutrition in Lebanon. Hence the Ministry of Public Health has made several significant steps to scale up its strategic focus on nutrition, including developing the National Nutrition Strategy, activation and leadership of a Nutrition Sector, undertaking the first ever Nutrition and Child Development survey and scaling up of services for prevention and treatment of malnutrition.

National guidelines for the management of acute malnutrition (at PHC and hospital level) were developed and disseminated in 2017 by the MoPH since then several thousand children and women benefited from services for treatment of malnutrition. In light of the Global Action Plan for Child Wasting led by UNICEF and WHO, a revised global guideline has been released by WHO in July 2023, urging countries to adapt their protocols accordingly.

The Ministry of Public Health, with support from UNICEF, WHO, and nutrition sector partners, is embarking on the crucial task of reviewing and updating the national guidelines for the prevention and management of wasting. This initiative aims to enhance emergency preparedness measures to tackle malnutrition in Lebanon.

In collaboration with UNICEF, WHO, and the nutrition sector, the Ministry of Public Health has prioritized this review process. For which a one-day consultative workshop took place on February 1st, 2024.

During the opening session The Minister of Public Health, Dr. Firass Abiad, indicated that in recent years the increasing complexity of crises has led to a significant rise in the prevalence of wasting and other forms of malnutrition among the most vulnerable population- mainly children and women. This has pushed the lead ministry in Nutrition to prioritize the agenda of prevention and management of malnutrition as part of both humanitarian response and development work in Lebanon.

Dr. Abiad continued: “over the course of more than six years, with the invaluable assistance of UNICEF, we have been able to reach to over 25,000 children and women with wasting with treatment services through the provision of essential supplies, equipment, human resources, and operational support”.

Minister Abiad noted that: “today, we have the unique opportunity to benefit from the collective support and expertise of all of the experts in this field with thanks to UNICEF, WHO, and the Lebanon Nutrition Sector, to thoroughly examine and update our approach to malnutrition prevention and management”.

Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon, acknowledged the importance of revisiting and strengthening our national guidelines. HE added UNICEF’s mandate as the lead agency in nutrition globally, is informed by a major premise: that “always, prevention comes first, when prevention fails, treatment is necessary. Hence, during recent years, UNICEF has been providing the MOPH with all needed supplies, human resource, equipment, and capacity building to ensure children and women with wasting are receiving adequate care and services. Beigbeder also stressed that: ”given the development in southern border, more than ever as part of our response and contingency actions, revision of this guideline is critical to enhance effectiveness of the program”.

Dr. Abdinasir Abubakar, WHO Representative in Lebanon, stated that: “While we are still behind from reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, better achievements can only be met when greater focus is devoted to improving nutrition”.

He added that WHO in Lebanon is using this milestone to work with the multiple stakeholders including the government, UNICEF, and other partners, as an essential response to tackle malnutrition.
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