Bangladesh: Undernourished Children And Women Get Well Thanks To ECHO's Support To WFP
For every child, having enough of the right food during the first 1000 days is critical as the lack of adequate nutrition can have a far-reaching impact on the child’s ability to grow, learn and eventually rise out of poverty. Tahmid is only one and a half years old. With his mother fighting poverty and working in the field all day, he became undernourished gradually after he turned one. ECHO-funded specialized nutritious food provided by WFP has helped Tahmid and he is now healthy.
Measuring a child’s mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) can give an indication of his or her nutritional status. A community health worker takes the MUAC of four-year-old Hasan (in Kadakati, Assasuni Upazila, Satkhira district). From an earlier screening session held in his house, he was found to be moderately acutely undernourished – he was too thin. Since then, he has been receiving specialized nutritious food while his mother received nutrition education to improve the family diet and health and hygiene practices. Hasan’s nutritional status is monitored every two weeks by a community health worker to follow-up on his progress.
A Community Clinic is a tiny clinic at the grassroots level. It provides primary care services to the community. WFP programme participants receive specialized nutritious food and training on health and nutrition in the Community Clinic.
To support the critical first 1000 days of life, acutely undernourished pregnant women and nursing mothers receive Super Cereal, a specialized nutritious food made from wheat flour, soya flour and sugar, and fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
Acutely undernourished children aged 6 months to 2 years receive Super Cereal plus, with milk powder and fortified vegetable oil added into the mix.
Women are registered in order to receive specialized nutritious food for themselves and their children. Detailed records are kept at the community clinic to ensure all enrolled women and children receive their food on a regular basis.
Behaviour Change Communication sessions are organized for adolescent girls, mothers and other caregivers to raise awareness and motivation to promote good practices in nutrition and hygiene. The courtyard sessions cover nutrition needs and care during pregnancy, complementary feeding for young children after the time of exclusive breast feeding ends at 6 months, personal hygiene, family planning and other related life skills.
ECHO has funded WFP’s mother and child nutrition programmes in Satkhira district in the south-west of Bangladesh since 2011. As of April 2014, 11,512 undernourished children and 5,469 undernourished pregnant women and nursing mothers received food and nutrition education though this programme.
Community nutrition workers visit all programme participants once every two weeks to follow up on their progress.
Tamanna, a three year old girl from Kadakati, Assasuni Upazila, Satkhira, was identified with moderate acute undernutrition. She received Supercereal Plus while nutrition education was provided to her mother. Her family is happy that she has recovered and is now enjoying a healthy childhood. Her mother told WFP she also spends less money on medicine because Tamanna rarely needs to visit a doctor now.