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.

Breastfeeding Seminar

Washington, DC

Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding in the Field

The TOPS Program, along with USAID Food for Peace, is hosting a Breastfeeding Seminar that will bring together those who provide technical assistance to USAID Food for Peace-funded programming in the field, along with other key stakeholders. Key objectives will be 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

An accredited Social Health Activist in northeastern India discusses the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months with a new mother. (Courtesy of John Nicholson, JSI)

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.

Responding to gender issues to improve outcomes in nutrition assessment, counseling, and support services

Nutrition assessment, counseling, and support (NACS) is an approach to integrate evidence-based nutrition interventions into health services, including the prevention, categorization, and treatment of malnutrition and sustained improved nutritional status. This technical brief describes gender issues in NACS services as well as suggestions for how to address them. Gender issues discussed include:

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:

USAID ASSIST Project Annual Performance Monitoring Report FY15

This annual report for the USAID ASSIST Project summarizes the project's accomplishments and results in FY15 supporting the application of modern improvement methods by host country providers and managers in USAID-assisted countries. During FY15, USAID ASSIST provided assistance in 23 countries through field and core funding.

FY15 Results:

Strengthening Systems for Improved Nutrition Care, Support, and Treatment in Malawi

This technical report describes the results of USAID ASSIST support to the Ministry of Health of Malawi’s national Nutrition Care, Support and Treatment (NCST) program from 2013-2014. Beginning in February 2013, USAID ASSIST started working with teams of district coaches and facility-based health care workers in eight facilities to apply a quality improvement approach to integrate nutrition services in HIV care. After examining their care processes, the teams decided to focus first on ensuring that all patients who came for HIV and tuberculosis care were screened for malnutrition.