Health and nutrition

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Healthy mothers give birth to healthy children, and healthy children grow into heatlhy adults. CINI makes sure mothers and children get the nourishment they need

Stunting is the result of chronic or recurrent undernutrition in-utero and early childhood. Children suffering from stunting may never reach their full possible height nor their full cognitive potential. Stunted children not only earn less as adults as a result of less schooling and learning difficulties when in school, but they are also more likely to be at risk of overweight and obesity than children of normal height,”  UNICEF

CINI has pioneered health and nutrition programmes in deprived communities in India for almost 50 years.

In the early days we provided practical support to mothers, children and expectant mothers and made sure they had access to the nourishment they needed. Today, we continue to provide vulnerable communities with similar support, but our expertise is also being leveraged to deliver training to front line public health workers to ensure they have the skills they need to effectively support communities now and in the future.

We are also using our technical know-how combined with our on-the-ground expertise to engage with local, regional, state and national authorities and strengthen public health systems that millions of children, adolescents and women come into contact with every year.

There is still work to be done.  The levels of child stunting, child wasting and malnourishment identified in the government’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS 5, 2019 – 2021) demonstrate the need for concerted action.

What we’ve been doing to make a difference

Pregnant women were supported by CINIs programmes

Lactating women were supported CINIs programmes

Children were supported with their health and nutrition

Adolescents were given support, advice and guidance

Raising awareness of good nutrition in communities and enabling front line workers to make change happen

In 2022 CINI published its Maternal Nutrition Programme Kit which showed stakeholders how our tried and tested framework for delivering effective community-based nutrition and health programmes works.   The kit sets out an operational framework which public health authorities can use to strengthen their health systems, and has information, education and communication manuals for front line workers on health and nutrition in pregnancy and early childhood.

We’ve also helped 173 Gram Panchayat’s (GP), village level public authorities, embed health and nutrition into their development plans, and allocate budgets to do so.  With our support GPs have run awareness raising events in communities, purchased weighing machines so the health of mothers, babies and infants can be monitored, distributed nutrition supplements to mothers and children, and implemented small repairs to their integrated child development service centres so services can be delivered better.

We worked with partners to boost rates of immunisation against highly infectious child hood diseases

The covid pandemic saw a sharp fall in child immunisation rates and a rise in infectious diseases – especially amongst the vulnerable groups that we work alongside.  CINI partnered with state governments and other stakeholders to raise awareness and ramp up vaccination rates in the hardest to reach communities

In 2022 West Bengal saw an almost three-fold increase in measles cases, one of the world’s most infectious diseases.  CINI supported the state government boost vaccination rates.  We ran education programmes and addressed vaccine hesitancy, trained and supported self-help groups, and helped citizens access public health services to get immunised.

In the poorest blocks in the state of Jharkhand, alongside Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, we worked with public authorities to build back health services hit hard by the pandemic.  Our efforts in training public health teams and supporting community volunteers in nine poor rural and urban areas led to 4,500 at risk children get the vaccines they needed.

Collaborating with UNICEF and government to prevent cases of child malnutrition in Odisha

In partnership with UNICEF and in co-ordination with state government of Odisha, CINI designed and went on to implement a comprehensive package for the promotion of Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices which saw substantial improvements in maternal and child nutrition and health.

The success of the IYCF programme in preventing child malnutrition led to the programme being rolled out in a further 23 districts of Odisha with support of the Government’s Department for Women and Child Development.

Bringing communities together to grow the nutritious food that they need to stay healthy and thrive

Getting hold of healthy, nutritious food at affordable prices is not straightforward.  A parent might know what they need to do to provide a healthy, nutritious diet for their child, but they lack of the means to do so.

We’ve distributed gardening kits with seasonal vegetables seeds and growing materials, along with training on growing your own food, to over 2,000 families.  To engage communities, bring on board local government partners and demonstrate the potential to as wide an audience as possible, we’ve provided gardening kits to 50 local government community centres and given staff training on how they can grow their own food.

Parents, children and public health workers are getting in touch with nature, working together to strengthen bonds and eating healthier food as a result.

“In India, 36 percent of children under age five years are stunted (too short for their age). This is a sign of chronic undernutrition. Nineteen percent of children under age five years are wasted (too thin for their height), which is a sign of acute undernutrition, while 32 percent of children under age five years are underweight. Three percent of children are overweight”

National Family Health Survey (NFHS 5) 2019 – 2021 (page 374)