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 has been a problem in Tajikistan since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and there has been no significant improvement since the end of the civil war in 1997. The poor economic situation and the consequent high rate of unemployment means that Tajik households do not have sufficient access to income. 

To improve the nutrition of mothers and children, Tajikistan joined the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) movement in 2013. This association of 60 nations aims to pool the activities performed in the respec-tive countries. Tajikistan also established a SUN platform in 2014 to coordinate the efforts of all Tajik 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 cookery courses in 20 villages. The courses mainly focused on preparing nutrient-rich meals from locally produced food in traditional ways, such as cooking with an open flame. Videos of all the recipes are available.
  • 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.