In an effort to stamp out malnutrition in Rwanda, the Ministry of Health (MoH) in close collaboration with a number of other public institutions, development partners is in a consultative exercise planning to rollout a nationwide campaign against malnutrition dubbed “1,000days Nutrition Campaign”.
The campaign was launched in September this year, the first phase is ongoing and the next phase is scheduled to start from January until June 2014. It is a three-phased campaign. Although it touches various aspects in the nutrition domain, the overall goal of the campaign is to improve the nutrition status of the vulnerable populations (children under five years, pregnant and lactating mothers and school going children) in Rwanda in order to reduce morbidity and mortality related to malnutrition through a multi-sectoral approach; particularly through Behaviour Change Communication (BCC).
Tuesday, December 10, at Lapallaise Hotel, Nyandungu saw MoH host a consultative meeting that attracted stakeholders in the campaign including; representatives of public, private and civil society organizations, local government and development partners. It is a joint campaign bringing together all health facing institutions and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) both Local and International with maternal and child health programs aimed at fighting malnutrition. The implementation of the campaign will be done in phases. The first phase is ongoing and ends in December. Participants reviewed the first phase to come up with better ways of executing the second phase that starts in January 2014.
Sensitizing people about good nutrition is one of SFH Rwanda’s five intervention areas. SFH distributes high quality printed reading materials, and supports radio programs through community based and national radios. “Ongera Intunga Umubiri” is a live monthly radio program on Insangano Radio—a community-based radio in Karongi sponsored by SFH through USAID project. In addition, SFH also creates more awareness through Inter Personal Communications (IPCs) and rapid promotions.
In the 1,000 days Nutrition Campaign, SFH is considering active participation through Mobile video units/shows (MVUs) and IEC materials; providing an opportunity to spread to even other districts.
Participants worked on a comprehensive strategy for the next phase that harmonizes all nutrition programs and field activities to avoid overlaps and duplication of efforts already observed in implementing the first phase. Malnutrition continues to be a public health concern, although there is a strong commitment by the Government to tackling the problem. A number of initiatives and interventions have been put in place over the last 10 years including the National Nutrition Policy in 2007, the National Protocol on Management of Malnutrition in 2009 and the National Multi-sectoral Strategy to Eliminate Malnutrition.