VIENTIANE, LAO PDR — On May 27, 2021, CRS and the Ministry of Health signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a new project “Applied Nutrition Research Capacity Building (ANRCB)” funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through the LASER PULSE program led by Purdue University. ANRCB is the newest project under the Lao American Nutrition Initiative (LANI) to support nutrition professionals to conduct and utilize research to address malnutrition in the Lao PDR. The Lao PDR continues to improve nutrition and wellbeing nation-wide, and this new project funded by the United States will support these efforts to identify and address new ways to improve the lives of Lao people.
The MOU was signed by the Country Representative of CRS in Lao PDR, Mr. Joshua Poole and Acting Director General of the Ministry of Health Cabinet, Dr. Chanthanom Manithip. Representatives at the U.S. Embassy in Laos expressed appreciation for the continued work of the MoH and CRS. This year the United States and Lao PDR are celebrating the 5th anniversary of the U.S.- Laos Comprehensive Partnership. This project reaffirms the United States’ commitment under the Partnership to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Laos, thereby supporting Lao PDR to becoming a stronger and more prosperous nation.
The newly launched project will engage with nutrition research experts from Purdue University and Indiana University (two leading U.S. universities) to support the Ministry of Health’s Center of Nutrition, the University of Health Sciences, and the Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute to conduct nutrition research, with a focus on capacity building. The project will also improve nutrition understanding and research quality as well as strengthen coordination and collaboration on nutrition research among government ministries, INGOs, academic institutions, and the private sector. The ANRCB project builds on previous investments in the nutrition sector by the U.S. Government, including the design and building of the new Center of Nutrition complex located in Ban Xiengda in Vientiane, as well as programs for maternal and child health, nutrition, and school feeding.
CRS has confidence that under the leadership of the Lao Ministry of Health, with strong cooperation and openness to exploring new ways to form this partnership, there will soon be better paths to identify problems and find timely solutions to address malnutrition in Lao PDR. Since nutrition is multi-sectoral, crossing the boundaries of health, agriculture, water and sanitation, and education, this project will engage across government ministries through the Nutrition Secretariat housed at the Center of Nutrition.