Honduras: WFP and Save The Children Will Support the Ministry of Health
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Published on 27 May 2013

World Food Programme Representative Miguel Barreto, and the Director of Save The Children Mariano Planells sign the agreement. Copyright: WFP/Juan Montes

WFP Representative in Honduras Miguel Barreto, and the Director of Save The Children in Honduras Mariano Planells, signed a cooperation agreement to strengthen the Ministry of Health’s capacity to implement a plan for vulnerable groups, particularly during the critical period known as the "First 1,000 Days of Life."

TEGUCIGALPA - The agreement involves the recruitment of 10 field technicians (facilitators) who will assist in strengthening the Ministry of Health. They will help prevent the deterioration of the nutrition and health status of children under five, providing however an emphasis on children under two.

The intervention targets the region with the highest levels of undernutrition and food insecurity: the southern Dry Corridor, where 104,500 beneficiaries (20,900 direct) from eight departments and 47 municipalities who are spread over 174 health units are assisted with an investment of more than US$4 million per year.

In addition, the Ministry of Health’s capacities and competencies have been strengthened by successfully training approximately 1,000 health officials and 1,200 health volunteers within the diverse communities where the programme is being implemented. Monitoring health units has also been improved. In 2012 coverage reached approximately 88%, where approximately 8 out of 10 health units were visited monthly.

The work that has been done this year is based on deepening the administrative and technical relationship, which aims to ensure a greater complementarity in the departments of La Paz, Intibucá, and Valle; where WFP serves approximately 50% of the beneficiaries of the project. This allows for a more efficient operation and overall improvement of services to the most vulnerable populations.

The Vulnerable Groups Programme

The Vulnerable Groups Programme institutionally focuses on optimizing:

• Prevention of stunting by feeding children from 6-23 months of age, using the strategy of the first 1,000 days of life;
• Treatment of underweight by providing supplementary food to malnourished children aged 24-59 months based on the weight / age. Pregnant and lactating women based on the mid-upper arm circumference levels;
• Reduction of anemia among women of reproductive age and children under 5 years;
• Improvement of nutritional status, adherence to antiretroviral therapy, and health for people living with HIV through Comprehensive Care Centers (CAI).
• Creation of safety nets for families who have malnourished children and pregnant or lactating women (during the lean season between April and July).

The Vulnerable Groups Programme reaches over 105,000 indirect beneficiaries in areas with high levels of undernutrition and food insecurity. This includes 47 municipalities within eight departments in the Dry Corridor, among which are: Choluteca, Valle, southern El Paraíso, southern Francisco Morazán, La Paz, Intibucá, Lempira and Santa Barbara.