Hunger kills more people worldwide than HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined, and children are the most vulnerable. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases account for 35 percent (3.1 million) of the 8.8 million deaths of children younger than five each year. Malnutrition is a complex problem that can be caused by a lack of adequate food, illness, and poor caring practices – but it is preventable and curable.
International Medical Corps runs nutrition and food security programmes in some of the world’s most food-stressed areas, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad, and Sudan. Our nutrition programmes have a 90 percent success rate, meaning that almost all the malnourished children who come through our programmes recover.
Recognising that malnutrition is not just an issue about food, we address nutrition at every contact point we have with community members from water and sanitation projects, screening during primary health care visits, and provision of therapeutic nutrition care. We work with all levels of government, civil society, and parents to improve their ability to provide the range of activities needed to promote healthy growth and prevent malnutrition in children.
International Medical Corps malnutrition prevention programmes include promotion of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life; infant and young child feeding; maternal nutrition; nutrition education; food security programmes that promote food diversity; micronutrient supplementation; the addition of supplemental food during hunger periods; and water, sanitation & hygiene interventions to prevent diarrheal disease and the malnutrition that can result.
To reinforce nutrition messages and create behaviour change in the community, International Medical Corps works with local communities to develop Mother Care Groups. These Groups are led by local female volunteers trained by International Medical Corps that meet on a regular basis with mothers and their young children to:
In addition, most of the decision-making regarding critical influential behaviours occurs in the home. Thus, International Medical Corps targets health facilities, community leaders, households and individuals to bring positive and lasting changes in attitudes, knowledge and behaviours
International Medical Corps’ food security programmes focus on empowering communities and especially women to provide nutritious foods for their families. Our work includes: