Malnutrition continues to be a critical health problem in the DRC. According to the 2013-2014 DHS, 8 percent of children less than 5 suffer from acute malnutrition and chronic malnutrition rest at 43 percent. The MOH estimates that 51 percent of the child mortality in Congo is caused directly or indirectly by malnutrition.
Reduction of malnutrition is a key ASSP strategy to reduce morbidity and mortality in women and children under five within the project’s 52 health zones. IMA collaborates with PRONANUT, the National Nutrition Program, to strengthen routine nutrition interventions at health facilities and to increase the capacity of communities to address mal-nutrition through multi-disciplinary interventions. These interventions are integrated into the community extension programs of the health zones. IMA also supports the integration of nutrition data (both clinical and community) into the District Health Information System. Health zone managers and nutritionists are trained to monitor and analyze the data to track the nutritional status of children in their communities and improve outreach activities.
“Mado began to suffer when I became pregnant with my new baby, I thought it was a transient sickness like all the others but her health was only deteriorating. One day a neighboring boy who worked at the health center came to see Mado and then he went to give report to the center. Soon after an ASSP community relay came to see the condition of the child. She was not good. They taught me a recipe to make her in order to get her health back as quickly as possible. It was this porridge that I gave her, that of soy flour, corn flour and peanut meal all mixed up and that’s how she recovered her health.”
Maman Mado, Beneficiary of ASSP’s nutrition program, Kasai
Over the last 3 years, the number of children screened who are referred to a health center for malnutrition has decreased almost by half, going from 14.4 percent down to 7.9 percent.
- Over 1.35 million pregnant women and children under 5 received direct and intensive nutrition intervention, likely reducing high risks of anemia during pregnancy and malnutrition-related sickness in early childhood, in the project areas.
Over the last three years, the number of children screened per year by community relays has almost tripled. In Year 5, the relays screened 1,609,748 children for malnutrition, comprising 91 percent of the estimated 1,766,508 children under five years old in the 52 health zones.
- 274,697 malnourished children have received five home visits (85 percent of those referred) and, among them, the overall recovery rate has risen steadily from a low of 44.5 percent in four years to the current recovery rate of 78 percent.
- Maternal Nutrition: The project ensures availability and routine administration of three doses of iron and folic acid for pregnant women at the health centers. Over the last 4 years, the number of pregnant women who have received 5 doses of iron and folic acid: 1,077,035.
- Nutrition Training: ASSP trained health zone staff and nurses in IYCF messaging and home gardening. ASSP trained more than 8,900 community volunteers to screen for malnutrition in children under 5 years of age using MUACs and in infant & young child feeding (IYCF) and home gardening.
- Through the ASSP project, 1,724 nurses have been trained in how to identify malnutrition and in best feeding practices for infant and young child feeding.
- 890 health centers have been equipped with anthropometric materials such as Salter scales, infant scales, measuring boards, mid-upper arm circumference strips, reporting forms, nutrition education materials and road to health forms. The project also provides ongoing formative supervision at these health centers to improve preschool and prenatal consultations, and nutrition education.