The project aims to improve maternal, child health (MCH) and nutrition in the remote Son La Province of Vietnam. The project will improve the nutrition and MCH services offered at health facilities by providing educational resources and supplies, and training health workers. Health workers will be included in the trainings with key community members on key topics such as exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, healthy birth spacing, food hygiene, as well as the importance of delivery in a health facility and antenatal and postnatal care. Necessary supplies and materials such as brochures and flipcharts will be provided to the commune health stations and district hospital. Investing in improving the quality of services (supplies, training of staff) is important to increase women and girls’ confidence and trust in these services leading to increased service utilization.
In order to raise awareness in the community about the importance of accessing MCH services and proper nutrition, the project will organize regular educational events in the community, led by trained key community members, to disseminate evidence-based messages and support interventions which link mothers and newborns to essential pre-natal and post-natal care and good nutrition practices such as exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, food hygiene and how to prepare nutritious food. Key community members will receive training on all these topics so they can facilitate education sessions and support maternal and child health in the community. Educational events in the general community to raise awareness of the importance of accessing MCH services, as well as key nutrition topics, will increase knowledge and promote health seeking behaviors. Village health workers (VHW) and commune health workers will conduct household visits to support expecting mothers, new mothers, infants and children on healthy pregnancies, healthy postpartum practices, infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and good nutrition for new and expecting mothers.
Selected community members will be trained and supplied with cooking utensils and locally available nutritious ingredients to conduct cooking demonstrations as an engaging method for educating families on preparing nutritious meals and improving dietary diversity for children under five. Demonstrations will also include information about hygienic preparation of food in order to improve food safety. Food demonstration sessions in the community will include key family decision-makers such as husbands and mothers-in-law. Involving household decision makers has been shown to increase their engagement in food preparation and child feeding practices.
- Increased access to nutrient-rich foods through food demonstrations
- Increased awareness in the community about the importance of accessing MCH services and proper nutrition
- Strengthened capacity of key community members and health workers to support families and child caregivers as well as expecting and new mothers
- Increased knowledge amongst key community members, health workers and village leaders about good nutrition, dietary diversity and IYCF practices.