Better nutrition of mothers, newborns and children in rural Tajikistan

Project description

Title: Mother Infant Child Nutrition (MICN) Project
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
Country: Tajikistan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population (MoHSPP) of the Republic of Tajikistan
Overall term: 2016 to 2019

Context

Malnutrition is a long-standing problem in Tajikistan. There has been no significant improvement even since the end of the civil war in 1997. The main causes for this are the low wages received by Tajik workers who have managed to find a job in Russia. They are not able to provide sufficient financial support to their families who have remained in Tajikistan. The slight recovery in the Russian economy since 2017 could now have a positive effect on the overall situation in Tajikistan - especially regarding nutrition.

Programmes have been implemented in Tajikistan to improve the nutrition of mothers and children. Tajikistan joined the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) movement in 2013, an association of 60 countries whose objective is to pool the activities in the respective countries. Tajikistan also established a SUN platform in 2014 to coordinate the efforts of all Tajik participants and stakeholders.

Objective

The nutrition of women of childbearing age, newborns and children has been improved in 20 villages of Khatlon Province.

Approach

The project works towards achieving a fundamental improvement in nutrition-related services in Tajikistan. It also increases the opportunities for lifelong learning in the field of nutrition.

One measure is to build up the institutional, human and organisational capacities of the public health centres. The project provides support in:

  • revising curricula for nurses and care personnel in relation to nutrition;
  • training nurses and care personnel whose core areas are working in the villages, one of the methods being tablet-based training;
  • supporting the Republican Centre for Family Medicine in the further training of personnel
  • establishing a Healthy Lifestyle Centre with specially trained volunteer nutritionists in villages.

The project additionally supports villages and schools in order to develop and implement a communication strategy which can alter traditional practices regarding food and hygiene. To this end, the project sets up counselling centres in the participating villages and schools.

Private households also receive advice from the project. Counselling centres provide information regarding a more balanced and varied diet in selected villages. In addition, mini-projects also help ensure improved dietary diversity.

Results

  • Under the leadership of the national SUN Secretariat, all national stakeholders (such as ministries, private companies, civil society) have created, developed and adopted a strategy to implement the aforementioned measures.
  • 60 volunteer nutritionists, selected by the residents of the villages, have completed a five-day training module and advised 4,215 villagers.
  • An experienced cook has conducted 20 cookery courses in villages. The cookery course is available as a video clip.
  • The project has revised the curricula for the participating schools; selected teachers have participated and worked through a two-day training module and integrated selected lessons into their teaching.
  • Three schools have organised events for Global Handwashing Day.
  • The project has conducted a basic study on the socio-economic situation of households in the participating villages. The study concentrated on access to clean water, the income situation and the level of education, among other things.
  • Working groups have been established in the villages to ensure an exchange of experience with regard to particularly successful agricultural methods.