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Community Nutrition and Health Project (Nutri-Salud) Final Report
University Research Co., LLC (URC), successfully implemented the Community Nutrition and Health Project (Nutri-Salud) between June 2012 and May 2017. The project worked in 30 municipalities in the western highlands region of the country to achieve three objectives consistent with USG Global Health and Feed the Future Initiatives, and in support of the Guatemalan Government’s Zero Hunger Pact. These objectives were to:
- Improve the nutritional status of women of reproductive age and children under five
- Strengthen essential maternal, neonatal, and child health care and family planning services at the community level
- Engage communities in active solutions to their health care needs through community mobilization and linkages to local government
The project was implemented by a collaborative team led by URC, with four sub-partners: The Manoff Group, Inc. provided technical support in social and behavior change communication and nutrition; Mercy Corps supported actions to strengthen community mobilization and municipal engagement; The Cloudburst Group provided technical assistance and training to local non-governmental organizations on United States Government (USG) environmental regulations; and the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP) supported health worker training as well as project monitoring and evaluation activities.
Nutri-Salud sustained a dual focus during the life of the project. First, the project provided specific support to a series of three different service-delivery models implemented by the Ministry of Health (MOH) over the five-year period. Second, the project offered longer-term support to improve several key processes fundamental to good primary health care. These processes included: improving providers’ knowledge and skills, continuous quality improvement, promoting the adoption of healthy practices to prevent malnutrition and improve maternal health, and strengthening community mobilization and local government engagement. Across these processes, Nutri-Salud strengthened the understanding and use of global evidence and best practices, adherence to national norms, and development/use of job aids and tools.
One of the highly successful tools developed by the project was the Wheel of Practices for Better Living. With the help of The Manoff Group, the project adapted the Wheel of Practices for use in Guatemala, where it was printed and distributed in communities throughout the catchment area. Over 55,000 families in the western highlands have begun using this core tool, which aids in the adoption of 19 practices known to help prevent chronic malnutrition and improve maternal health during the 1,000-Day Window of Opportunity. Furthermore, 19 local partners adopted the Wheel of Practices as a key social and behavior change communication (SBCC) methodology and are implementing it in the intervention area.
However, recent data shows that child chronic undernutrition is still a problem in Guatemala, especially for rural and indigenous populations. Some of the challenges included a continued underfunding of the Ministry of Health, inequitable economic growth and lack of understanding of the consequences of undernutrition for the individual, the community and the country. It is hoped that USAID, other donors and their implementing partners will continue to support Guatemala to improve their primary health care services, strengthen data collection, launch a national strategy to prevent chronic undernutrition, develop a SBCC strategy and toolkit to prevent chronic malnutrition, and strengthen community mobilization and local government engagement in health.
The Nutri-Salud Final Report will be uploaded soon.