Breaking the cycle of childhood malnutrition requires long-term, sustainable solutions. We're attacking the root causes here in Honduras to do just that.
Helping a child recover from malnutrition is not a long-term solution. Rather, we have to look at the root causes of malnutrition and identify ways to solve them. Often times, lack of education, resources, or a combination of the two is the culprit. The best solution? We don't know. Targeted programs to improve education or resources can produce great results. Unfortunately, work in prevention does not have a one size fits all answer to it. Different cultures or geographic regions may require very different programs.
Breaking the cycle of malnutrition requires taking a look at the long term implications of our work and asking some difficult questions. Are we having an impact beyond the children we're targeting? Are there benefits for the community and region as a whole? If we end a program, what do we leave behind?
In order to grow our footprint and make meaningful strides to reduce childhood malnutrition, our work has to see long-term and sustainable effects.
We are driven to combatting childhood malnutrition, but we are not committed to just one method. Because of the many contributing factors to malnutrition, we know that each community will require a unique blend of solutions.
Better access to clean water, to preventative medicine, to nutritional education, to transportation or maybe just subsidized food—we are committed to expanding what is working and changing what isn't.
Human centered design
The communities and people we wish to serve are at the center of our programs. They have played and will continue to play an integral role in the entire planning and implementation processes of our interventions. No one knows a community better than those who make it up. By combining their knowledge of local strengths and weaknesses with our resources and expertise, together we achieve more impactful results.
Fetal development is critical to the long term health of a child. High rates of anemia in women prior to and during pregnancy lead to low birth weights, and high levels of anemia in newborns suggest that much of that critical development is not taking place.
Infant mortality remains high throughout Yoro, and children who do survive infancy often suffer lifelong consequences of malnutrition that will trap them in a cycle of poverty.
We have identified one community in particular, Quebrachal, to pilot a project to begin addressing this issue. With forty households, and located two hours from the nearest health center, it is representative of many other communities around the region. Many women in Quebrachal do not see a healthcare professional throughout the course of their pregnancy, nor do they gain enough weight to provide adequate nutrition to their child in utero.
By participating in this program, the women in the community will receive bi-weekly home visits by our healthcare promoters. Visits will include data collection and education around health and dieting before, during and after pregnancy. Additionally, we will provide direct services including prenatal vitamins and dietary supplements as well as visits with an OBGYN.
The end goal: measurably improve birth outcomes for the community of Quebrachal. In particular, success will be determined by a statistically significant improvement in height/weight for six month old babies.