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Democratic Republic of the Congo

Program Name: Integrated infant and young child nutrition and lipid-based nutrient supplement program

Objective/Purposes:

In an effort to improve the nutritional status of children in DRC, an integrated infant and young child nutrition and home fortification program is being implemented. The overall goal of the program is to decrease the prevalence of anemia and iron deficiency and improve growth and feeding practices among children 0-12 months of age.

Background:

Among children <5 years of age in DRC, 46% are stunted, 10% are wasted, 6% are severely wasted, and 25% are underweight.  The prevalence of anemia is 74% among children 6-59 mo of age. Given the high prevalence of stunting and wasting in DRC, a lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS) was selected for use in this program since it contains both macro and micronutrients.

Activities:

Phase 1: Formative work to determine the acceptability of LNS among children and their caregivers in Katanga province, DRC, including test messages for improving child feeding practices, and developing local branding for LNS.

Phase 2: Conduct a baseline micronutrient survey in the pilot program and comparison zone areas. Implement and evaluate an integrated infant and young child feeding and LNS program in one health zone in Katanga province, DRC (Pilot).  The pilot program includes promotion of breastfeeding and timely introduction of diverse complementary foods as well as distribution of LNS to children 6-12 months of age. At approximately 24 months, a follow-up micronutrient survey will be conducted to assess potential program impact (September/October 2014).

Phase 3: Scale up the in-home fortification program to other health zones in DRC.

Potential Impact:

To our knowledge, this is the first integrated infant and young child nutrition and lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS - Nutributter) program to be implemented on a wide scale in a developing country setting, using the existing health care infrastructure.  If the program is demonstrated to be effective, this model will be adapted for use in other countries by our partner agencies.   Wide-scale application of enhanced IYCF and lipid-based nutrient supplementation program may reduce the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies in priority countries, and may improve rates of stunting and wasting.

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