Last October, FANTA began working with in-country partners in Malawi to strengthen health systems and boost health provider capacity for delivering quality nutrition services. In the year ahead, FANTA will help strengthen coordination among various nutrition actors and will develop tools and provide training that will empower health workers to improve nutrition care of their clients.
Developing a Plan of Action
FANTA began working with the Office of the President and Cabinet, the Ministry of Health, and USAID/Malawi in 2011 to review the status of nutrition programming in the context of HIV in Malawi. The review identified strengths, challenges, and opportunities in the country’s nutrition care, support, and treatment services, as well as potential areas for FANTA to provide assistance in planning for and implementing nutrition service delivery within HIV services.
The following year, FANTA continued consulting with stakeholders to develop a plan of action. In October 2013, FANTA officially launched activities in Malawi.
Working to Improve Nutrition
While some nutrition indicators have improved over the years, malnutrition remains a public health concern in Malawi. In 2011, about one in every two children suffered from chronic malnutrition, and anemia rates were reported at 63% among children under 5 years of age. In addition, some 910,000 people are currently living with HIV in Malawi, and nutrition plays an important role in preventing illness and reducing morbidity and mortality in people living with such infectious diseases.
In the year ahead, FANTA will engage in a variety of activities in Malawi to improve nutrition and address these challenges. This includes working to strengthen coordination among stakeholders by, for example, drafting a strategic plan for implementing nutrition care, support, and treatment, and increasing use of data to improve services by supporting the integration of nutrition indicators into the health management information system. FANTA will also develop and test tools for health care providers and national and subnational managers to facilitate provision of nutrition services for both prevention and treatment of malnutrition. For example, FANTA will update nutrition care, support, and treatment guidelines and support the extension of these services to additional delivery platforms, such as prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and community-based interventions. In addition, FANTA will use the updated guidelines and tools to strengthen competencies of health care providers and managers to deliver quality nutrition services through in-service training, mentoring, and coaching.
“I’m excited to work with the Government of Malawi on strengthening nutrition service delivery,” says FANTA/Malawi Project Manager Alice Nkoroi, who has more than a decade of experience designing, implementing, managing, and providing technical support to nutrition programs in developing nations. “We look forward to contributing to reducing the rates of malnutrition in the country.”
Alice Nkoroi, Project Manager, FANTA/Malawi