Malnutrition Eradication Program, Madhya Pradesh – RMF’s Approach
December 31, 2009
Malnutrition Eradication Program, Madhya Pradesh, India
RMF's Childhood Malnutrition Treatment and Prevention Initiative boasts the largest field presence of any NGO working in malnutrition in the region, a result of strong partnerships with government, NGOs, business, and most importantly, local communities. Madhya Pradesh carries India's highest malnutrition burden, with 60% of its children under 5 malnourished and approximately 6 million children whose futures are at risk. We decided to attack the problem head on by focusing our efforts on 500 of the worst hit villages across 5 districts. Our strategy is to close the gap between the resources available and the families who need them by focusing on the basics of malnutrition awareness, identification, treatment, and prevention and inserting simple, but innovative technologies and practices.
RMF's malnutrition team, 55 outgoing and passionate local tribal women, each cover 10 villages, spending two full days per month with each village. Through a combination of community awareness sessions, door-to-door visits, one-on-one counseling, and capacity building of local leadership, our staff empower their communities with knowledge about malnutrition treatment and prevention, focusing on what can be done using local resources. They use a simple but accurate method Measurement of Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) to screen all children in a village for malnutrition and then monitor their status monthly, encouraging mothers to do the same. We refer all children with severe acute malnutrition to government Nutrition Rehabilitation Centers (NRCs), strengthening the referral mechanisms within the public system. We liaise with these centers to make sure each child and family get the support they need. We've teamed up with the state government, UNICEF, and our local partner Jeevan Jyoti Health Service Society to open a public private partnership NRC in Jhabua, which we hope to turn into a model center for the region. Once a child has been treated for SAM or identified as at risk for malnutrition we follow up at the household level ensuring that the child does not fall back into malnutrition by carefully and thoroughly counseling families on how they can prevent malnutrition within their means over the long-term."
Malnutrition is one of the most serious health problems facing the Indian state today. Not only does malnutrition raise a child's chances of mortality from common diseases such as pneumonia and malaria, constituting 22% of the country's disease burden, malnutrition also has lasting effects for the children who survive childhood: children who have been malnourished in the first 5 years of life will have limited mental and physical growth capacity as compared to a well-nourished child.
- Currently a staggering 46% of all India's children under 5 years old are underweight, 60 million children whose future is as risk.
- The massive central Indian state Madhya Pradesh carries the country's highest malnutrition burden, with 60% of its children under 5 malnourished. Of these 6 million malnourished children, 1.3 million have the worst form of severe acute malnutrition and another 1 million have moderate acute malnutrition.
- The World Hunger Index ranks Madhya Pradesh in between Chad and Ethiopia for childhood malnutrition
Real Medicine Foundation's Approach
The Real Medicine Foundation aims to tackle malnutrition by closing the gap between the resources available and the families who need them by focusing our program on the basics of malnutrition identification, treatment, and prevention and inserting simple, but innovative technologies and practices. We strengthen existing systems, structures, and management capacity of government and non-governmental organization partners at the most local levels. By working with individuals, government health workers, self-help groups, NGOs, and local businesses to identify, treat, and prevent malnutrition at the community level, we ensure that malnutrition can be addressed locally and earlier, making our approach a sustainable and cost-effective one.
For more information on our approaches, a Word document is available for download below.