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.

Improving Health Care: The Results and Legacy of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project

This final report of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) summarizes the key accomplishments and learning of this seven-year global technical assistance project of the USAID Office of Health Systems.  Implemented from 2007-2014, HCI provided technical assistance in health care and social service improvement in 38 countries.

Everyday KM

Lani Marquez

Knowledge Management Director, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

How can knowledge management (KM) improve food and nutrition programming?  Alyssa Lowe of CARE and I posed that question last week at the Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) Network  “Knowledge Sharing” Meeting held July 10-11 in Washington, DC, sponsored by the USAID Food for Peace Office’s  Technical and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) Project.

What Is Knowledge Management and How Can It Improve Your Food Security Program?

Washington, DC

Learning from experience is essential to improve our work and the programs we support or implement.  This session at the Food Security and Nutrition Network/TOPS Project Knowledge Sharing Conference in Washington, DC explored  key concepts in knowledge management that have proven relevant for development sectors. 

Strengthening Systems to Improve Nutrition Care, Support and Treatment in Malawi: Results from Balaka and Karonga Districts

In Malawi, USAID ASSIST has worked with the Government of Malawi and the FANTA and LIFT projects since February 2013 to support the MOH Nutrition Department and the Office of the President to improve nutrition care for people living with HIV and tuberculosis in Karonga and Balaka districts and to use the lessons from these districts to help the Ministry strengthen the national Nutrition Care, Support and Treatment

(NCST) program. The work has focused initially on two aims:

Using team work to improve nutrition services

Linley Elsie Hauya

Nutrition Advisor, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

Most health facilities in Malawi are always crowded with patients to receive medical treatment and the health service providers are overloaded with work.  The Nutrition Assessment, Counseling and Support (NACS) program never received any attention in recent years because there were no resources to run the program and no therapeutic supplies to treat the malnourished HIV positive patients. Quality improvement work is the flag ship that has brought NACS to stakeholder’s attention at national level such that it has begun to receive support.

Integrating nutrition services in HIV and TB care in Karonga and Balaka Districts of Malawi

With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), health workers in Karonga and Balaka districts are reaching people with HIV and TB with a critical new service—nutrition assessment, counseling and support.

Improving household food security in Mwanganya area through community involvement in Karonga District, Malawi

With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a group of community members agreed to improve their household food security situation during the hunger months with support from a multi-sectoral team of stakeholders. The community members from Mwanganya village in Group Village Mwandambo in Karonga District were assisted by communitybased government extension workers and community members to try some actions recommended in the national OVC standards to enhance their household food security and nutrition.

National Quality Service Guidelines for Improving Vulnerable Children Programs in Haiti

Before the Haiti drafted the National Service Guidelines, children’s service providers were working with some protocols, though they were oftentimes just doing what they thought they should do, without specific national guidance. The draft service guidelines have clarified what outcomes service providers should be achieving, indicators to see if programs are making a measurable difference in the lives of vulnerable children, and evidence-based interventions that should be put into practice to achieve those desired outcomes.

A community-led approach to improve early childhood development (ECD) and nutrition in Blantyre District, Malawi using quality improvement methods

With support from the United States Agency for International Development, a community in the Blantyre District of Malawi managed to increase the number of children aged 3-6 years old attending community based childcare centers (CBCCs) from 589 to 1,120 (a 90.2% increase).  While doing this they identified that 217 (19.4%) of the children in the CBCC were malnourished. By working with existing structures in the government, community and local support agencies managed to improve the nutritional status of 178 children (82%).

Meeting the Different Needs of Boys and Girls in Services for Vulnerable Children

This technical brief describes the different needs of boys and girls requiring Vulnerable Children services. It describes key gender issues five priority service areas: access to education, health and nutrition, psychosocial support, violence and exploitation, and economic strengthening. The brief highlights illustrative stories from the field and outlines specific recommended action steps to integrate gender across the service areas. Links to additional resources are provided at the end of the document.