Tajikistan Ministry of Health and WHO join forces to improve outpatient care of acute malnutrition

WHO/Khadicha Boymatova

Improving outpatient care of malnutrition in Tajikistan

A WHO mission visited Tajikistan 7 – 12 June, to provide technical support to the Ministry of Health of Tajikistan to develop an outpatient care programme to manage acute malnutrition in Shahrituz and Khuroson, which are identified as highly insecure districts of the Khatlon Region by a recent Food Security Monitoring System report of the World Food Programme.

The programme will take place in one or two pilot districts initially and aims to:

  • increase involvement of community and health care facilities in preventing and treating malnutrition;
  • build capacity for case-findings at community and health facility level;
  • strengthen referral of cases with medical complications or no appetite to in-patient care;
  • improve regular child growth monitoring
  • develop counselling skills among health care workers on breastfeeding and appropriate and timely complementary feeding;
  • promote healthy, safe nutrition, hygiene and safe drinking-water.

The training course lasted six days and attracted participants from 20 health centres. It was funded by UNICEF and took place in Kurgan Tube. Eight participants have been selected and trained as facilitators for future training and to support implementation. The next step will be the finalization of the draft national guidelines on outpatient management of acute malnutrition and its implementation in the selected districts.

A serious child health concern in Tajikistan

Under nutrition is the consequence of a deficiency in nutrient intake and/or absorption. This can take the form of acute malnutrition, stunting, underweight and micronutrient deficiencies. SAM (severe acute malnutrition) affects 20 million children worldwide and contributes to the death of a million children under five each year according to WHO, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition and UNICEF.

Tajikistan has a high prevalence of acute malnutrition in children under five years old and according to the preliminary results of the Demographic and Health Survey of 2012, 26% of children under five are stunted and almost 10% of children are identified as moderate and 4% as severely wasted.