According to UNICEF, malnutrition is the leading underlying cause of child mortality in the DRC with 160,000 children dying of causes related to malnutrition every year. In 2022, nearly a million children in the DRC suffered from severe acute malnutrition. This difficult situation is the result of a combination of issues such as poor feeding practices, food insecurity, high prevalence of childhood illnesses, limited community access to safe drinking water and the tenuous security situation.
To help mitigate these challenges and build community resilience, MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience has trained more than 700 health care providers in North Kivu, including 520 CHWs, health care workers, and local health officials. With project support, CHWs mobilized by the North Kivu Ministry of Health screened 30,077 children (14,572 boys and 15,505 girls) for acute malnutrition in 70 North Kivu communities between October and December 2022.
MOMENTUM is also partnering with health care providers in setting up community nutrition support groups to enable pregnant and lactating women to learn from their peers about proper nutrition and other essential family practices that promote good health for their children and themselves. Mothers participating in these groups will be supplied with, and trained to use, MUAC tapes to support acute malnutrition screening of children under five as well as pregnant and lactating women.
The CHWs trained and equipped by MOMENTUM help to bridge some of the gaps in health resources in project communities, where health care worker turnover is common. They also assist mothers who are trained through the community nutrition support groups to engage with children on nutrition.