Food for Thought: Muso Launches Maternal and Child Nutrition Project

Muso’s proactive health care model was created to overcome the economic barriers that prevent many of these families from accessing quality healthcare. Yet persistent poverty often leaves the poorest members of our communities disproportionately vulnerable to severe malnutrition even after the CHW leaves their doorstep. Half of Mali’s rapidly urbanizing population lives below the poverty line, and between 11-17% of households are moderately to severely food insecure.

52% of children in Mali are moderately to severely malnourished, which is exacerbated by conditions of poverty. Fatim Traoré, Nutrition Program Director at Muso, has 10 years experience managing women’s groups and small enterprises that empower women to invest directly in child nutrition and preventative healthcare.

This month, Muso has launched a project to test strategies aimed at alleviating child malnutrition among Yirimadjo’s most economically vulnerable families. The Prevention of Malnutrition project integrates our decade of experience facilitating community health education, women-led small businesses, and community savings in Mali, to empower women’s economic capacity to ensure food security in their homes. Our operational research looks at how stabilizing basic financial and nutritional needs within these vulnerable families could lead to cascading positive effects to improve general health and wellbeing in the home, and contribute to the broader fight against child mortality.

Muso’s network of CHWs identified over 220 households in our catchment area with one or more children suffering from malnutrition. A follow-up survey with Fatim’s team determined two treatment courses: 1) Families ranking above specific economic indicators with one more malnourished children will remain under the care of their regular CHW, with more focused attention on better nutrition practices during door-to-door CHW outreach; 2) Families who fall below the economic indicators and have one or more malnourished children, or one or more children who died from malnutrition, will be enrolled in the new Prevention of Malnutrition project, while continuing to receive regular CHW visits.

The women enrolled in the Prevention of Malnutrition project will meet every week for one year to participate in group activities that include conditional cash transfers, building savings, training in small-business management,and learning more about maternal and child nutrition.

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