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Rwanda, 25 March 2015: Scaling up home fortification

March 2015 – The Ministry of Health and UNICEF Rwanda have partnered to bring micronutrient powder (Ongera Intungamubiri) to all children aged 6-23 months in Rwanda. The local Kinyarwanda name, Ongera Intungamubiri, is the national brand of micronutrient powder (MNP) in Rwanda and means ‘to increase nutrients’. It is a powdered blend of 15 essential vitamins and minerals that can be added to semi-solid or mashed food just before the child eats. Packaged in single serving sachets, it allows families to fortify food for their young child with the safe and appropriate level of vitamins and minerals important for their growth and development.

In 2011, formative research was conducted in order to determine the acceptability and appropriateness of MNPs as part of interventions to improve the complementary feeding for children aged 6-23 months. The results of the pilot were positive, showing an improvement in haemoglobin status among children consuming the recommended number of sachets in the intervention group identified as having moderate or severe anaemia at baseline. Caregivers were positive about their experience during the pilot study and requested for more Ongera Intungamubiri to be provided for their young children. In line with the 2013-18 National Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan, the intervention is now being rolled out in phases with the aim of reaching all children aged 6 -23 months in 23 districts.

 

The Government of Rwanda adopted the home fortification programme as a component of the package of interventions addressing inadequate complementary feeding contributing to the high rate of stunting. The programme is being rolled-out with support from UNICEF and local implementing partners, with technical guidance from the University of British Columbia.

 

Community Health Workers learn about the appropriate use of ONGERA INTUNGAMUBIRI as part of improved complementary feeding practices.

[Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Nyamagabe participate in a training on home fortification with Ongera Intungamubiri. Training of CHWs was conducted by Health Centre staff with support from local implementing partners]

 

In Bugesera, a Community Health Worker serves a balanced meal prepared during a cooking demonstration. Caregivers of children 6-23 months participate in hand washing, cooking demonstrations and receiving messages on appropriate complementary feeding practices – and – the importance of Ongera Intungamubiri.

 

At a community training session, a CHW uses the Ongera Intungamubiri counselling card to explain to caregivers how to use Ongera Intungamubiri – to ensure key messages are delivered correctly and consistently.

 

A caregiver feeds her child a meal mixed with Ongera Intungamubiri at a cooking demonstration and training session.

All photo credits: © The University of British Columbia/UNICEF

 

 

 
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