UNICEF Strengthens Partnerships with Civil Society Organizations to Promote Maternal and Child Nutrition
There is a recognised need to optimise nutritional status before pregnancy, during pregnancy, the post-partum period and breastfeeding, and in the early years of life. The nutritional status of the pregnant women influences the growth and physical and mental development of the foetus. It has a major impact on infant mortality, growth and development and forms the foundations of health in later life.
Under the umbrella of UNICEF and Health Protection Agency’s national campaign on Maternal and Child Nutrition, engagement with civil society further enhanced the efforts to increase awareness on positive nutrition practices amongst healthcare providers in Male’, Raa, Kaafu and Gnaviyani Atolls. NGOs, Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) and Society for Health Education (SHE) successfully completed trainings for 85 healthcare providers on various components of nutrition practices through comprehensive capacity building and training activities with the aim to influence changes in practice among health providers ensuring that caregivers receive accurate, actionable advice that would lead to critical feeding improvements and sustainable progress. Another 20 participants from 8 islands in Kaafu Atoll also received further training on specific effective communication practices when delivering nutrition information to pregnant mothers and caregivers of children under five.
According to a nutritionist from ARC, the training for healthcare providers was an important avenue to provide information on counselling, interpersonal skills and communication methods to bring about positive behaviour changes.
The interactive and participatory methods used by the NGOs to find possible solutions for the challenges faced in feeding infants and young children were an integral component of the training for the healthcare providers.