With the support of HEP+, the Nutrition Institute of Central America and Panama (INCAP) has made significant progress in collecting baseline data for Guatemala’s Great National Crusade for Nutrition (GCNN), which aims to reduce malnutrition in the country. As of May 25, INCAP had visited 536 homes in Chimaltenango, Sacatepéquez, and the department of Guatemala as a part of an effort to identify municipalities most in need. Once baseline data collection is complete, the information will be used to monitor and evaluate the GCNN’s efforts, help the Guatemalan government better identify local health needs, and inform nutrition intervention delivery. In addition to preventing chronic malnutrition and anemia, the national strategy aims to reduce maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, promote food security and nutrition, strengthen food services, and prevent and infectious diseases. HEP+ support of the GCNN initiative includes creating systems for technical and operational analyses, a budget based on programmatic categories, and a strategy to define the resources and activities needed to strengthen the GCNN.
With HP+ technical support, Madagascar’s Ministry of Public Health recently validated the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health and Nutrition Investment Case for the Global Financing Facility. The investment case outlines priorities for interventions and regions in addressing the country’s RMNCAH-N objectives and health system improvements. HP+ was the lead technical partner, in collaboration with UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization, supporting the ministry in the development of the investment case. The process offered the opportunity to improve the alignment of donor financing with government priorities and objectives. It also focused on targeting limited government resources on high-impact practices and healthcare access for the country’s most vulnerable populations. HP+ will continue to provide technical assistance to build the ministry’s capacity to monitor the implementation of the investment case at national, regional, and district levels. The investment case aims to reduce the total fertility rate—the average number of births a woman has over a typical lifetime—from 4.6 to 4.2 and aims to reduce the adolescent fertility rate from 151 to less than 130 births per 1,000 women. The five-year plan would reach 17 out of 22 prioritized regions, covering 19.1 million people (78 percent of the population) and avert more than 9,000 neonatal deaths, approximately 3,000 maternal deaths, and nearly 40,000 deaths of children under five years of age.
HP+ explores links between food insecurity, poverty, and poor health outcomes and the need to address underlying causes such as malnutrition with a multisectoral approach. In a new blog in its series, A Multisectoral Endeavor Called Health, co-authors Jay Gribble and Joni Waldron of USAID’s Feed the Future Ag Diversification Activity showcase efforts in Malawi where project design and implementation are linking agriculture to food security, economic growth, and health for long-term, sustainable change. Read the blog, “Reducing Malnutrition: A Multisectoral Approach to Addressing Underlying Causes.
Early results from districts in Malawi where hospitals have been accredited as baby-friendly (BFHI) have revealed great success: on average, in the nine hospitals HP+ has trained, early initiation of breastfeeding increased from 43 to 75 percent. In Dedza, exclusive breastfeeding contributed to a reduction in neonatal deaths from 24 to 13 percent over six months. Learning from prior experience, HP+ adapted the BFHI program to train hospitals sequentially. The revised approach provides immediate feedback and ongoing mentorship and ensures that at least 80 percent of clinical staff are trained in each facility, as well as support staff and community mentors.
HEP + supported the municipalities of Sacapulas (Quiché) and San Rafael Pie de la Cuesta (San Marcos), to develop and formalize the Food Security and Nutrition (SAN) Policies of each municipality, based on the "Guide to Elaborate the Municipal Investment Plan" also developed by HEP+. These municipal policies are based on four pillars: 1) Food consumption, 2) Biological use of food, 3) Availability and access to food, and 4) Institutional strengthening, and are in alignment with Guatemala’s National Development Plan, K’atun 2032. These policies make it possible to allocate municipal resources transparently and manage resources with other organizations that work on food security and nutrition. The municipality of San Rafael Pie de la Cuesta has already allocated funds in its annual budget to operationalize said policy. The implementation of these policies at the municipal level will aim to improve food and nutrition conditions and reduce chronic malnutrition in the municipality. HEP+ monitors the implementation of these policies and advocates with other municipalities to develop similar policies.