Humagashini, the second baby of Puwaneswari-Minnalvaanan couple was just 1.3 kgs when she was born. The doctors declared the situation critical. Now, 8 years old, Huma is a healthy, playful child - all thanks to the 'Nutrition program' by Vavunathivu Development Organisation. This project by VDO aims to restore health of a malnourished child while simultaneously educating the parents - both mother and father, in proper child care, hygiene, and nutrition.
Around 33.2% children in Vavunathivu, Batticaloa are reported to be underweight and another 11.8% severely malnourished. Lack of nutritious food and parent's lack of knowledge on value of nutritious meal, child care and hygiene are the major reasons. Recent conflicts have destroyed the livelihoods, leaving the families without any steady income. They cannot afford to buy nutritious food, nor properly care for their children - leading to their inadequate physical and mental development.
VDO has been running 'Nutrition Program' to train parents on the issues of malnutrition and importance of providing nutritious meal to their infants. Parents are trained in groups on selection of nutritious food in their own locality, on cooking without losing the nutrition, and on breastfeeding and infant feeding for pregnant and lactating mothers. This is also addressed by promoting home gardening and backyard poultry making vegetables and eggs available in their own homes.
Lead parents are selected among the villagers who visit and monitor other mothers, giving advice to the parents, thus championing the cause making it a truly community-driven intervention. They visit regularly and generate health status report of children and conduct small group discussion to share and learn from each other and also seek advice from Health officials. Through this program, we hope to train well-informed parents, who in turn nurture next generation of healthy and secure children.