Nutrition

The nutrition assessment, counseling, and support (NACS) approach aims to improve the nutritional status of individuals and populations by integrating nutrition into policies, programs, and the health service delivery infrastructure.  Improvement methods can help to strengthen the linkage between communities and points of care for nutritional services to improve the coverage, compliance, referral, and follow-up of people of all ages with special nutritional needs, including pregnant and lactating women, young children, and persons living with HIV or tuberculosis.

Nutrition MUAC

Integrating nutrition support into existing health services can be challenging. Health care providers may lack the technical knowledge and skills to deliver the correct care; high staff turnover make one-off training in nutrition assessment and follow-up unsustainable; low staff numbers make it hard for clinics to handle the increased workload required to integrate a new service into their already busy clinics; and supply chain issues mean that supplies of specialized food products are not always available at clinics. These challenges can be addressed by improvement interventions to build technical skills, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, and strengthen data systems at all levels.

Tested Changes to Improve Nutrition Assessment, Counseling, and Support in HIV Care in Zambia

From 2014-2017, the USAID ASSIST Project collaborated with FANTA III and LIFT II to support the Government of Zambia to pilot nutrition assessment, counseling, and support (NACS) as part of HIV care in Kitwe and Mkushi districts, representing both urban and rural districts. The pilot activity was funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through USAID and designed to support the continued adoption, adaptation, and scale-up of NACS as a standard of care within national HIV/AIDS programs in Zambia.

Breastfeeding Seminar

Washington, DC

Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding in the Field

The TOPS Program, along with USAID Food for Peace, hosted a Breastfeeding Seminar that brought together those who provide technical assistance to USAID Food for Peace-funded programming in the field, along with other key stakeholders. Key objectives were to:

It Takes a Village: Improving Nutrition through Community Health Workers

ICHC Blog Series

This post is part of the Institutionalizing Community Health Conference blog series.

By: Dr. Sascha Lamstein, JSI Technical Advisor

Increasing the Enrollment of Malnourished Clients on Ready-to-use Therapeutic Foods at Kitgum General Hospital, Northern Uganda

Hospitals throughout Uganda treat severely malnourished children without medical complications through outpatient therapeutic care programs using ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). During a baseline assessment at Kitgum Hospital in Northern Uganda, facility staff realized that only 60% of its identified malnourished clients at different service points were being appropriately treated for malnutrition using RUTF. A quality improvement team in the hospital identified gaps and tested several interventions to improve the enrollment and treatment of eligible clients with RUTF.

Meeting the nutritional needs of men, women, boys, and girls in families affected by HIV

Megan Ivankovich

Senior Program Officer, WI-HER, LLC

Right now, millions of families around the globe are affected by HIV. This means they may be dealing with concurrent struggles related to health, nutrition, and food security, among others. We know that sticking to a healthy diet can strengthen the immune system, improve the effectiveness of ARV drugs, and sustain productivity. Yet many people living with HIV (PLHIV) often face challenges related to food access, availability, and utilization, which can further threaten their health.

Integrating Nutrition Services in HIV and TB Care in Mindolo I Clinic in Kitwe, Zambia

With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), health care workers in Kitwe District are improving the quality of nutrition assessment, counseling, and support (NACS). NACS services were not being implemented as part of the daily clinic process, despite health workers being trained in NACS and receiving the necessary tools and job aids.

ASSIST Zambia NACS Progress Report

In October 2015, the USAID ASSIST Project Zambia team published an 11-page progress report that describes results achieved following the integration of nutrition assessment, counseling, and support (NACS) based on Zambia’s national quality improvement guidelines in eight out of 27 FANTA-supported sites in Kitwe District. Through technical support to the facility teams and capacity building of the district in improvement, ASSIST is strengthening nutrition services for PLHIV.

Key takeaways from the report are:

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