Location – Kabul
Focus – Health
In 2017 AfD joined the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) global movement. In 2019 we were awarded a grant, by the SUN Pooled Fund for Afghanistan, to strengthen the Afghanistan Civil Society Alliance (CSA) in tackling malnutrition in the country. According to the 2013 National Nutrition Survey, approximately 41% of children were stunted and 9.5% of children were wasted. To this day, malnutrition continues to be a major concern amongst the youngest patients visiting our CHC in Kabul.
The project focused on expanding and strengthening the capacity and awareness of civil society members to better address the nutrition needs of the country. Achievements included CSA membership expanding to 65, awareness and capacity strengthening of civil society organizations (CSOs) on topics including stunting and anemia, effective coordination with key stakeholders including UN agencies and Ministries, and successful mentoring of CSOs through the SUN CSA Initiative’s grant application processes.
AfD was also awarded additional funds by SUN to strengthen nutrition response in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. AfD conducted Family MUAC training for 212 caregivers and 532 community health workers (CHWs), in 39 health facility catchment areas across 5 provinces (Bamyan, Daikundi, Jawzjan, Panjshir, and Kabul). The aim was to increase the uptake of treatment for acute malnutrition by increasing sensitization about child malnutrition and case detection at the household level. Post-training, CHWs acknowledged caregivers as key partners in the early detection and treatment of malnutrition, and health facilities saw an increase in families seeking nutrition services.
The ‘Family MUAC’ approach trains mothers and other caregivers to identify early signs of malnutrition in their children using a simple to use Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) tape. By moving this task to mothers (or other family members), who are able to do it as effectively as CHWs, the cases are detected earlier, leading to fewer hospitalisations. Mothers are empowered to manage their children’s health and CHWs have more time to carry out other tasks. (https://www.acutemalnutrition.org/en/Family-MUAC)