In rural central El Salvador, mothers are the main caretakers for their children, and they often do not know the best diet to support healthy growth and illness prevention, nor how to buy the best foods because they are often expensive. Poor diet leads to growth problems and susceptibility to potentially fatal diseases such as dengue fever. These workshops will outline both the best diets to promote maximum growth and illness prevention in children, and help mothers find nutrient-rich foods.
Communities in the central zone of El Salvador are facing challenges surrounding healthcare for children, due to the vast poverty and poor healthcare in the majority of the country. A lack of educational and financial resources, as well as distance from adequate healthcare services, leads to poor nutrition, which in turn exacerbates illnesses that pose the greatest risk to children, such as dengue fever.
Through training of community health workers in child nutrition, we are working to spread education on healthy diet practices for childcare providers throughout the communities, mainly their mothers. This nutritional education will teach both the best diets to promote maximum growth and illness prevention in children, and help mothers find the foods they may normally not have access to.
Long term effects will be two-fold. The first part is the spread of education on healthy child-rearing practices through impoverished communities - community health workers are trained to bring back what they learned to their communities, and then parents will teach each other. The second more long-term effect is augmented height and weight in children of these communities, and decrease in fatalities due to dengue fever.
This project has provided additional documentation in a Microsoft Word file (projdoc.doc).