Since 1998 the Children's Nutrition Program of Haiti has carried out activities aimed at improving the health and development of Haitian children, particularly those suffering from malnutrition, who can in turn raise Haiti from poverty. Our nutrition workers, called monitrices, are the backbone of our programs. These women work tirelessly to ensure their communities are educated and making wise health decisions. Our program works. Acute malnutrition dropped in our service areas from 24% to 3%.
Haiti is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with almost half of households living in extreme poverty. Undernutrition is one of the leading causes of death and disease amongst children in Haiti and over a fifth of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. The region of Leogane experiences one of the highest mortality rates among Haitian children aged under 5. The causes of malnutrition include low income, education and sanitation.
CNP employs 36 monitrices from Leogane who work with their communities to prevent and treat malnutrition, covering a population of around 150,000. Monitrices educate their communities on good nutrition and hygiene practices; work with their communities to find solutions to the root causes of malnutrition, including income generation schemes, developing agriculture, building latrines and improving water sources; treat children and pregnant & lactating women suffering from malnutrition.
Malnutrition has both micro and macro level consequences. It weakens individual immune systems, affecting morbidity, mortality and disability. These incur increased health costs and lost wages which exacerbate poverty and food insecurity. Malnutrition also irreversibly impairs a child's physical and intellectual development, which hinders individual productivity, lowering national income and inhibiting economic growth. Monitrices therefore work to alleviate individual suffering and poverty.