Location – Kabul
Focus – Health
AfD has joined the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) global movement in 2017; in 2019 AfD was successfully granted the SUN Pooled Fund for Afghanistan. The aim of the project is to strengthen the Afghanistan Civil Society Alliance (CSA) for tackling malnutrition in the country.
Afghanistan has been recognized as a “high priority country” by the Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) for tackling malnutrition. According to the 2013 National Nutrition Survey, approximately 41% of children in Afghanistan suffer from chronic malnutrition. Furthermore, malnutrition is not only a major problem for children but also for pregnant and lactating women. To this day, malnutrition continues to be a major concern amongst the youngest patient visiting the CHC in Kabul.
The project focuses on three different fronts: assessment, treatment and prevention of malnutrition, more precisely under-nutrition. With regards to assessment, there are already efforts underway to screen children who attend our CHC for malnutrition. Unfortunately, not all children under the age of 5 are currently being screened, so one of the project’s priorities will be to analyze these bottlenecks in order to achieve a 100% screening rate. Additionally, we plan on training the Community Health Workers (CHW) in assessment. The following step includes training mothers on malnutrition, allowing them to assess their own children.
The second aspect of the project is treatment. Currently, the CHC is unable to provide treatment for malnutrition and all cases of severe malnutrition need to be referred to provincial hospitals. Our aim is to set-up a malnutrition ward at our CHC. This would include staff training and procurement of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs).
The last and most important part of the project is malnutrition prevention. This includes the critical period of time between conception and the first 24 months of age, since damages occurring during this period are normally irreversible. We intend to tackle this through a comprehensive program encompassing education, supplementation and breastfeeding support.
In 2018, 3769 children were assessed for malnutrition. Over 6000 children under the age of 5 visited the CHC premises. 62% of these children were diagnosed with malnutrition, an increase of 43% compared to the previous year.
AfD has joined the Ministry of Public Health in the Technical Working Group for Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition and Infant and Young Child Feeding.