In a programme organised in Kathmandu on Thursday, the UN agency officially announced Aamir Khan as new UNICEF ambassador after he visited Kapilvastu and Lumbini in west Nepal on Wednesday to observe a locally initiated nutrition programme by women health volunteers, saving thousands of children from malnutrition, a common phenomenon in South Asia.
“I am delighted to become an Ambassador for UNICEF in South Asia. I hope my messages on the importance of children’s nutrition will urge parents, families, and leaders at all levels to support and adopt proven services and nutrition practices that will help children grow and develop to their full potential,” Khan said.
After sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia has the highest number of under-five deaths in the world with 2.3 million in 2011. Across the region nearly 40 per cent of children under the age of five are stunted because of chronic under-nutrition and an estimated 28 per cent of children are born with low birth weight, largely due to women’s poor nutrition before and during pregnancy.
UNICEF, a United Nations Programme, promotes the rights and wellbeing of children and mothers in developing countries focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children.