Community Based Nutrition programme holds off hunger in drought-prone Ethiopia
By Indrias Getachew
CHANCHO, Ethiopia, 4 August 2011 – Brightly clad mothers with babies strapped to their backs make their way to the centre of Chancho village, located in the Deder district of eastern Ethiopia. There, volunteer community health worker Kasim Jibral is setting up weighing scales for the village’s monthly growth-monitoring session.
“We weigh the children in order to identify malnutrition, which may not be visible to the eye,” says Mr. Jibral.
Growth monitoring is one of the pillars of the UNICEF-supported Community Based Nutrition (CBN) programme, introduced by the Government of Ethiopia in 2008 in drought-prone and food-insecure districts. CBN is designed to prevent malnutrition, an underlying factor in many deaths of Ethiopian children under the age of five.
‘She must continue breastfeeding’
Adise Gezahegn and her three-month-old baby Beza patiently wait their turn in Chancho. Last month, Beza weighed 4.4 kg, and her mother is keen to find out how much weight she has gained since her last visit.
Mr. Jibral helps Ms. Gezahegn remove Beza’s clothing, and they put her in a modified sack that’s used to weigh the babies. Together, they note the results – Beza is now a healthy 4.6 kg – and then sit down for their monthly one-on-one consultation.