Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement
The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement is a renewed effort to eliminate malnutrition, based on the principle that everyone has a right to food and good nutrition. The Movement’s vision is to, by 2030, ensure a world free from malnutrition in all its forms. The Movement is unique in the way that it brings together different groups of people – governments, the civil society, the UN, donors, businesses and scientists. As well as focussing on relevant targets for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, SUN countries and their supporters are working towards the World Health Assembly targets on maternal, infant and young child nutrition by 2025.
In September 2017, Afghanistan joined the the 59 SUN Countries and 3 Indian States that form the SUN Movement. In 2019, AfD successfully applied to the SUN Movement Pooled Fund. The Pooled Fund concept aims to strengthen the capacity of non-governmental systems in SUN countries. The intended outcome of AfD’s project under the Pooled Fund Window 1 is to strengthen the Afghanistan Civil Society Alliance (CSA) in order to ensure that by the end of 2020 there are SMART, costed, multi-stakeholder Nutrition Plans in place. To achieve this goal, AfD is working with a local implementing NGO – Afghanistan Human Rights Organisation (ARHO), who currently lead the Afghanistan CSA.
Strengthening the Afghan Civil Society Alliance (CSA)
The AfD SUN Movement Pooled Fund Project 2019-2020 aims at strengthening the Afghan CSA (CSAs advocate for an increased focus on nutritional outcomes in national policies and programmes, as well as working to ensure that civil society efforts to tackle malnutrition are alligned with national plans). As such, the project started with a mapping exercise to identify those Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Afghanistan that are involved in nutrition and other related sectors at both national and sub-national level. Reaching out to these organisations to include them in the Afghan SUN Civil Society Alliance membership ensures that the full range of CSOs are included and actively engaged in scaling-up nutrition at country level.
SUN CSN Asia Coordination Group
AfD is a member organization of the SUN CSN Asia Coordination Group (ACG) and therefore provides support by advocating for nutrition to be kept on the global agenda, especially during the Covid19 pandemic. The SUN CSN ACG is a group of 13 Civil Society Alliances (CSAs), established in January 2017, to enable continued collaboration among CSAs in the Asia Region for effective implementation of national nutrition plans through information sharing, knowledge exchange and implementation of joint advocacy opportunities. Led by the SUN Civil Society Asia Coordination Group (ACG) with support from the SUN Civil Society Network Secretariat, campaign activities will be implemented with the support of SUN Civil Society Alliances in the Asia region and globally.
Nutrition Can’t Wait Campaign
The SUN CSN ACG has launched the #NutritionCantWait campaign in August 2020, initially focusing on breastfeeding and complementary feeding of young children, in line with World Breastfeeding Week 2020. The first phase of the campaign will run until December 2020, focusing on these thematic areas: the right to Food and Nutrition; the importance of Maternal, Adolescent, Infant and Young Child Nutrition; breastfeeding and complementary feeding; full compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (BMS); sustain, maintain and scale-up essential health and nutrition services for all, particularly for young children and pregnant and lactating women.
Check the launch of our #NutritionCantWait Advocacy Campaign here: SUN CSN Asia launches campaign or: SUN news The #NutritionCantWait campaign featured on the SUN Movement August newsletter: SUN Newsletter August 2020
Roundtable Discussions on Nutrition
In February 2020, AfD and the Afghanistan Human Rights Organization (AHRO) held the first round-table discussion as part of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Pooled Fund Project.The SUN Movement, Afghanistan Civil Society Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (ACSA-FSN), and World Health Assembly (WHA) nutrition targets for 2025 were amongst the topics discussed. In March 2020, AfD together with AHRO and Action Against Hunger (ACF) conducted a second round table discussion on the issue of chronic malnutrition (stunting) in Afghanistan. In July 2020, AfD conducted a virtual 3rd roundtable discussion on nutrition in Afghanistan; the webinar, led by Save the Children, focused on anaemia. The 2 hours event saw participants being divided into small focus groups, with discussions focusing mainly on ways to improve the situation in Afghanistan.
FAMILY MUAC PROJECT 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has particularly impacted women and children’s health in Afghanistan, putting many at severe risk of malnutrition. In order to help improve uptake of services for malnutrition at community level, Action for Development has launched a new project specifically designed to provide quality training to Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the Family MUAC approach.
The first phase of the program took place in Kabul, at AfD’s field office, in September 2020, when 4 female health workers received ‘Training of Trainers’ training in “Family MUAC” from Dr Dashti, of the Public Nutrition Department (PND). The next phase of the program will be carried out in 5 provinces: Kabul, Daykundi, Bamyan, Panjshir and Jowzjan. During this phase, 500 CHWs and 200 caregivers will be trained in the Family MUAC approach. This project is funded through top-up funding made available by the SUN Movement Pooled Fund.
For more information on the family MUAC approach: https://www.acutemalnutrition.org/en/Family-MUAC
In mid-October the team of trainers travelled from Kabul to Bamyan province where they embarked on the first training sessions. Training was provided to 120 CHWs and 40 caregivers over 8 health facilities in 3 districts. Heads of clinics and Community Health Supervisors (CHS) also joined the training sessions. MUAC tapes were distributed and each trained CHW received a copy of the IYCF counselling cards.
To learn more about Family MUAC project 2020
Next the team travelled to Dykundi province where they noted that the long distances to be covered between health facilities was a challenge. Notwithstanding the distances, the team was able to provide training to 120 CHWs and 45 caregivers in 3 districts. Ten volunteers from a health in the community group also joined the training. The CHWs and CHS noted the need for Family MUAC training in other districts of Dykundi in order to combat high levels of malnutrition. Caregivers gave very positive feedback regarding the MUAC tapes, stating that they must travel long distances to access health facilities so they welcomed the ability to take measurements of their children at home.
AfD’s Family MUAC training features on the state of acute malnutrition website
The team has returned to Kabul and trainings have been conducted until mid November; the team has visited various health facilities, including district hospitals and community/basic health centres. 100 CHWs and 42 caregivers received the training. Given the current health emergency due to COVID-19, all health facilities were provided with personal protective equipment and hand-washing stations. Specific guidelines were clearly displayed for information on topics such as breastfeeding, child feeding, proper hygiene measures and a ‘Family MUAC’ poster, recently developed by AfD, to highlight the importance of having children screened for malnutrition.
AfD’s trainers have reached the province of Jawzjan, north of Afghanistan, where they have continued conducting the training for CHWs in Family MUAC. This province is divided into 11 districts. The local population is multi-ethnic and mostly agricultural. The percentage of households with clean drinking was estimated at 44% in 2011. The percentage of births attended by a skilled midwife at only 21% in 2011.
AfD’s trainers have reached the province of Panjshir, in the northeastern part of the country, where they have continued conducting the training for CHWs in Family MUAC. The province is divided into seven districts, 512 villages. As of 2012, the population was about 346,100. The training session was conducted at the Rukha health facility, transformed in early 2012 from a BHC to a district hospital.
In total, for both Panjshir and Jawzjan, 203 CHWs and 78 caregivers were trained; 4,170 MUAC tapes and 200 information leaflets (on malnutrition) were distributed.
AfD has partnered with Vitamin Angels to support pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children under five who are at risk of malnutrition and do not have access to national health services. Vitamin Angels provides annual grants of vitamin A, albendazole, and prenatal multivitamins to qualified local nonprofit organizations – like AfD – who want to supplement their existing community healthcare or nutrition services.
The grant awarded to AfD for distribution across Afghanistan through our nutrition and health programs includes: albendazole for 103,000 children aged 1 to 5 years; multivitamins for 6,900 pregnant women; vitamin A for 44,000 children 6 to 11 months; vitamin A for 103,500 children aged 1 to 5 years.
To learn about Vitamin Angels: https://www.vitaminangels.org/field-partners
National Food Security Agenda
The third anniversary of the National Food Security Agenda was celebrated at Marble Palace, on 5th November in Kabul. The Nutrition Food Security Agenda was endorsed by governmental officials and the Ministry of Health. The agenda highlights the broad framework and support of the government and its partners towards achieving the objectives of Governmental Nutrition Strategy. We hope that the strategic partners and the government stand together towards fighting hunger and malnutrition in Afghanistan, particularly after the severe impacts of protracted conflict and Covid19.