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Infant and Young Child Nutrition to Prevent Stunting

Although progress has been made in reducing acute malnutrition, stunting has remained stagnant in many parts of the world. MCSP continues work under begun under USAID’s predecessor Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) to address stunting through innovative Infant and Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) approaches. We’re building on operations and formative research to inform on integrated nutrition programming to prevent stunting and to reduce all forms of malnutrition.

MCHIP conducted operations and formative research using Trials of Improved Practices to understand behaviors, perceptions and other factors associated with IYCF and stunting, and to elucidate the roles of influential members of the community in care and feeding practices in the Middle East:

  • In Yemen, the Program developed evidence-based information, which will be used to develop a facility- and community-level counseling package to improve nutrition and family planning practices (FP), prevent stunting, and increase uptake of FP and optimal birth spacing.
  • In Egypt, MCHIP examined factors associated with the rise in stunting levels in Lower Egypt compared to Upper Egypt, using both qualitative and quantitative data collection methodologies to “tell the story” of stunting in children less than two years of age.

Eight MCHIP publications highlight key research findings on IYCF practices in relation to cultural beliefs and behaviors, maternal dietary practices, and the roles of health providers, grandmothers, and fathers in Egypt. The problem of junk food consumption in toddlers was examined and—using tailored, culturally appropriate solutions—practical guidance was provided to reduce the consumption of low nutritive foods while increasing intake of locally available nutritive foods.

To improve the quality of dietary intake of mothers and children, MCSP continues to examine the problem of junk food consumption and identify opportunities to integrate messaging and research findings into country programming.

A mother Brings her young baby to see a midwife for a check up in the town of Garba Tulla, Eastern Province, Kenya