Rwanda's 2005 Demographic Health Survey found that 45% of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. The Food Security Program targets the gap between clinical and community management of early childhood malnutrition. Conventional approaches treat malnutrition with processed food aid and provide little follow-up after the aid stops. While such assistance can reduce malnutrition in the short term, it often fails to address the underlying conditions that led to the diagnosis.
Gardens for Health's expert "Agriculture Agents" formally assess the nutritional needs and available resources of families with children diagnosed with malnutrition, then provide home gardens, follow-up services and community educational workshops.
Continued agricultural assistance will improve and sustain the food security of 300 individual patients and their families, while decreasing dependence on foreign food aid and decreasing the repeated burden of malnutrition at three health centers.