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Improving child & maternal nutritional health.

Preventing Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in children under 5 is one of the core strategies in the efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal 4 to reduce child mortality. Although Uganda has seen improvements in VAD in the past decade, it is not declining fast enough, and children, especially in eastern Uganda, continue to suffer the adverse effects of VAD. It is estimated that VAD affects over 42 percent of children under 5 in Eastern Uganda, compared to the national average of 33 percent. The implementation of the national Vitamin A Supplementation campaign through the Child Day Plus (CDP)initiative by the Ugandan Government is part of the efforts to combat VAD and ultimately reduce child mortality and morbidity. The initiative’s core services include the provision of VAS to all women by eight weeks postpartum and biannually to all children between 6 and 72 months, along with deworming of children.
Due to underfinancing, under compensating of the HCs, lack of effective coordination and planning, and a lack of standardized tracking systems, the progress toward achieving these core CDP activities is considerably less than expected. Consequently, the CDP initiative has consistently been unable to reach its targeted coverage rates.

Our ongoing ViM project in Eastern Uganda is an effort to support the country’s CDP initiative by filling the critical gaps in the coverage of the VAS program, ensuring that the most vulnerable children in the country have access to this essential VAS. CenRID's VAS, prenatal vitamins supplementation, and deworming are carried out by trained VHTs and Community Facilitators (CFs), and the Health Centers. Deworming tablets are only administered through health centers because of the potential health complications if not administered properly.
Susan Musabe, a midwife at the Busamuzi Health Center III, has been coordinating the distribution and administration of prenatal vitamin supplementation to expectant mothers and Vitamin A to children, respectively, at the health center. Prior to the administration of VAS, Susan ensures that the children are properly screened, including interviewing the child’s caregiver or parents, and reviewing health cards for VAS records if they are available. As part of the provision of prenatal vitamins supplementation, Susan, with assistance from the trained VHTs, holds short education sessions on maternal dietary requirements, the benefits of IFA supplementation, regular ANC visits, etc. for improved maternal and neonatal health outcomes. As of today, we have provided

Vitamin A and prenatal vitamins supplementation to over 31,000 children and 6,000 expectant mothers, respectively, across four (4) Districts in Eastern Uganda; Kamuli, Jinja, Luuka, and Buvuma.  
Susan Musabe is appreciative of CenRID's efforts to help improve maternal health-seeking behavior, and she is proud to be contributing to the initiative.

"I'm glad to be helping CenRID's efforts to improve the health outcomes of pregnant women and children in the district. The provision of Vitamin A and deworming tablets to the health center has been extremely helpful, especially during Child Health Days, where we mobilize communities to receive critical health services"

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