The 1,000 days from the start of a woman’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday provide a unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more thriving futures. The right nutrition during this 1,000-day window can have an enormous impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and rise out of poverty. It can also have a significant effect on the long-term health, stability, and development of entire communities and nations.
Inadequate nutrition is a leading cause of death of young children globally, with 45% of all child deaths linked to malnutrition. For infants and children under the age of two, the outcome of poor nutrition can have severe, often irreversible, effects that can span entire lives.
That’s why The Hunger Project has partnered with hundreds of organizations in 1,000 Days, a global movement to reduce childhood undernutrition. Improving nutrition during this critical window is central to global health and development.
The Hunger Project implements programs that support proper nutrition during the 1,000-day window, including programs that ensure mothers and young children get the necessary vitamins and minerals they need, as well as promoting good nutritional practices including breastfeeding. At Hunger Project trainings in Africa, tens of thousands of women attend workshops in which health care professionals explain the basics of nutrition for both children and mothers and the importance of pre- and postnatal care, as well as farming and crop techniques.
At The Hunger Project-Mozambique, programs focus on empowering women so they can put the nutrition and health of themselves and their families in their own hands.
This year, for example, a community-led program to improve detection of malnutrition among young children was introduced. Sixty-seven women have been trained to carry out nutritional vigilance inspections in households. From April to June 2014, six groups of women visited the households of more than 100 children under the age of five to assess their health and nutrition. Among them, 14 children were identified as demonstrating nutritional deficiency and were thus referred to the epicenter clinic. This program allows women who are not formally trained in medicine to play a greater role in assessing the health needs of their children and their community.
The 1,000-day window is one of the best investments we can make to achieve lasting progress in global health and development, and The Hunger Project will continue to implement programs to keep mothers and children healthy so that all can live lives of self-reliance and dignity.
Health and nutrition programs such as these in Africa are made possible by a strategic partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®).
Photo: Chokwe Epicenter (Mozambique) nurse and volunteers.