Addressing Child Malnutrition in Kopanga: Lessons in Transitioning from a Homegrown Nutrition Program to a Community-Based Program
Edeh, Onyinye A.
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ABSTRACT Problem Statement: Malnutrition and undernutrition contribute to over one third of all child deaths in developing countries. Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4) aims to decrease child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. Addressing malnutrition/undernutrition will be critical to attaining all of the MDGs, particularly MDG 4. Specific Aims: The project had the following aims: 1.To evaluate the Power of Milk nutrition program in the context of evidence-based practices 2.To gather feedback from clinic staff about nutrition services provided and identify barriers to effective tracking of child growth and management of child undernutrition 3.To assist the nutrition staff with the implementation of the nutrition program by serving as a mentor to the Nutrition Assistant, creating forms and a database for storing child visit and demographic information, providing health education to mothers and caregivers, and conducting home visits. 4.To provide recommendations (based on evidence-based knowledge) to improve the quality of services at the Comprehensive Rural Health Dispensary (CRHD) Setting: Kopanga, Kenya Methods: This project was carried out using mixed methods to collect child anthropometric measurements and care information from nutrition program staff and mothers/caregivers through monthly child visits, informal meetings, and a group session. Results: During the 10 week duration of this assessment, the student conducted an evaluation on the implementation of the nutrition program, visited local nutrition programs and child health personnel, provided health education, and conducted home visits with mothers/caregivers. The project culminated with a compilation of recommendations for the nutrition program and a discussion on next steps. Conclusion: Malnutrition is a complex issue, impacted by a variety of interacting factors. Effective interventions to combat malnutrition require comprehensive, multi-sectoral approaches that include clear communication, involvement by various stakeholders, and commitment from community members, ministries of health, and country governments to ensure the highest level of impact and program sustainability. The Kopanga experience underscores the need for programs to develop program theories that serve as road maps for the implementation of a program, and to develop appropriate feedback systems to enhance learning and allow room for improvement.
- Global health