HSDU reduces anemia in Guyana
The Basic Nutrition Programme (BNP), implemented by the Health Sector Development Unit (HSDU) of the Ministry of Health (MoH) was awarded the ‘Development Impact Honours’ by the United States Treasury on Thursday.
This presentation was made by U.S. Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner to Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno, IDB President, at the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C.
The Executive Director of the HSDU, Keith Burrowes, said that the BNP was a “flagship project implemented by the HSDU” and he is particularly happy with the work done by the project staff especially since the project “…was able to make a difference in the lives of the people of Guyana.”
The BNP was initiated in response to the Government of Guyana’s recognition of the high levels of anaemia and malnutrition in some regions, particularly the rural areas, and is jointly funded by the Government of Guyana (GoG) and the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB).
It seeks to reduce anaemia and malnutrition among pregnant women and children, six months to 24 months.
Its first four-year implementation has resulted in an approximate 30 per cent reduction in anaemia and wasting (weight for age) among targeted populations, reduction in stunting (height for age), increase in breastfeeding rates and increased compliance with early child-feeding practices.
The highlights of the project included the production and distribution of Sprinkles Micro-Nutrient, an iron supplement specifically targeting pregnant women and children six to 24 months and endorsed by the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI) – specialized Centre of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).
It also included the distribution of food coupons to enhance complementary feeding – coupons were valued at G$1000 and were exchanged for porridge items (cornmeal, plantain flour and barley) and milk. Coupons under the programme were directly distributed to mothers and provided them with a financial supplement.
More than 100 shop-keepers in the various communities also benefited since they were responsible for cashing the coupons. This has led to an improvement in both the nutritional and social welfare status of a number of communities.
There was also the training of over 400 Health Care Workers (HCWs) nationally.