“Right Start”, Nutrition International’s initiative to improve nutrition in the Philippines
On 17 October 2017, Nutrition International launched the ‘Right Start Initiative’ in the Philippines to improve nutrition for pregnant women, newborns, infants and young children in the Philippines. Supported by the Government of Canada, Right Start aims to reduce anaemia in pregnant women and young children, and low birth weight in newborns. It also seeks to avert deaths in infants and children under five by focusing on improving nutrition during the 1,000-day window (from conception to a child’s second birthday).
Through this program, Nutrition International will work with the Department of Health and local government units to strengthen nutrition-specific policies and guidelines, build the capacity of healthcare service providers to promote and deliver interventions to improve care for women, reducing risks to their health ― and the health of their newborns and children.
The program aims to prevent and control anaemia in pregnant women and young children, and low birth weight in newborns. It also seeks to avert deaths in infants and children under five. Well-nourished infants and young children are more disease-resistant, and have a better chance of becoming contributing members of society. The program will have positive social and economic impacts by eliminating obstacles that malnutrition imposes on some of the most vulnerable populations, preventing them from reaching their full potential and that of the next generation.
— NutritionIntl (@NutritionIntl) October 17, 2017
The main interventions of the Right Start Program in the Philippines include:
- Supporting the government to update policies and guidelines and come up with local nutrition action plans for delivering nutrition services (micronutrient and dietary supplementation, nutrition education and counselling) in the 1,000-day window.
- Training community health workers and equipping them with job aids and tracking tools to improve their skills in: promoting adherence to IFA supplementation for pregnant, infant and young child nutrition, and providing multiple micronutrient powders for infants.
- Organizing nutrition and breastfeeding support groups for: nutrition education, counselling, client and service delivery tracking, and guiding mothers or caregivers on exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding and adding multiple micronutrient powders.
- Increasing coverage of iron and folic acid supplements among pregnant women, exclusive breastfeeding among infants and micronutrient powder supplementation for infants.
The Right Start Initiative is a multi-million dollar, multi-faceted initiative, supported by Global Affairs Canada (Government of Canada), aiming to reach over 100 million women, adolescent girls, newborns and young children with improved nutrition in nine countries across Asia and Africa.