23 May 2023

Four steps to deliver dramatic results for malnourished children

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – More than 3,000 health facilities in Afghanistan reach around 85 per cent of the population, mostly in rural and semi-urban areas. But in urban areas, it is the larger city hospitals that fill gaps in health and nutrition care. These hospitals are often supported by a patchwork of national and international NGOs.  This system…, Turning crisis to opportunity, The emergency in Afghanistan offered UNICEF the chance to re-examine nutrition services in urban settings. In partnership with the European Union (EU), UNICEF could address the grave gaps in nutrition care and design a four-part strategy to scale nutrition services in urban areas., 10-month-old Fatima is screened by doctors Expanded outpatient and inpatient departments, In response to overcrowded out-patient and in-patient facilities in urban hospitals, which were unable to cope with demand, the urban scale-up strategy provided more rooms, more equipment, and more staff. Initially, European Union funding covered 68 health facilities with out-patient departments for severe acute malnutrition services., An Afghan woman holds cash she has received Incentives to caregivers, As the economy crumbled and poverty soared, in-patient care came into sharp focus. Parents do not have the money to stay in the hospital with their critically ill children. Many others have other children at home and live on infrequent daily wages. Although care is free, the cost of transportation or missed daily wages can still be high for many…, children and their mothers share a hot meal Day-care centres, In the most densely populated areas, in the heart of neighborhoods, UNICEF created day-care centres.  These offer nutrition counselling, treatment, a playroom for children, hot lunches prepared following a cooking demonstration, and the opportunity for mothers to meet in a safe environment. These centres are cost-effective and successfully reach…, children listen to Naz Gul, a nutrition promoter with the UNICEF-supported mobile health and nutrition team Community engagement, The work by women inside the day-care centres is complemented by outreach during community gatherings, including weddings. Male social behaviour mobilisers advocate with fathers and community members to encourage mothers to take their children for screening of malnutrition, receive treatment when necessary, and learn about routine growth…, Nutrition day-care centres: An oasis of hope and respite, Nutrition counselors at the day-care centres Nutrition counselors at the day-care centres lead cooking demonstrations, teaching mothers to prepare healthy meals like vegetable soup with affordable proteins, such as chickpeas. By the end of 2022, UNICEF opened 50 day-care centres across Kabul. The centres are bright, warm and welcoming. They are an…