Our work in Haiti is focused on improving the health of children.
Currently, Nutrition International, formerly the Micronutrient Initiative, supplies 100% of Haiti’s national needs for vitamin A capsules through our In-Kind-Assistance program. Part of our responsibility is to ensure that vitamin A is where it needs to be. Our supply chain assessment in 2013 ensured that over 75% of the country remained fully stocked. From 2010 to 2014, approximately 3 million vitamin A doses were delivered, reaching an average of 500,000 children, aged 6-59 months, annually.
In collaboration with the World Food Programme-Haiti, Nutrition International is supporting the Micronutrients for Every Meal Initiative (MEMI), which aims to provide school lunches fortified with extra vitamins and minerals to approximately 110,000 children in pre- and primary-schools in select regions of Haiti, with a view of scaling it up across the whole country.
In Haiti, 50% of children between the ages of three and five suffer from anaemia. Often caused by a deficiency in iron and other micronutrients, anaemia can have damaging effects on a child’s motor and cognitive skills, language development and learning process.
The Micronutrients for Every Meal Initiative (MEMI) seeks to address this issue. Through this two-year initiative ― for which the World Food Programme (WFP) has received funding from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada ― 110,000 pre- and primary-school children are getting school lunches fortified with extra vitamins and minerals. The initiative’s objective is to reduce anaemia levels among these children, helping them to perform better in school and, eventually, grow into healthier adults.
MEMI is a collaboration between the Nutrition International and WFP-Haiti. WFP provides school meals to a majority of school children in Haiti while supporting the government to establish a nationally-owned school meals program. To ensure children receive the essential micronutrients they need to be healthy, Nutrition International provides assistance to fortify the meals with a mix of vitamins and minerals that are sprinkled onto cooked semi-solid food such as rice or porridge, without changing its taste or colour. In addition, Nutrition International has partnered with the University of Montreal to evaluate the reduction of anemia among the children.
MEMI is currently being implemented in 420 pre- and primary-schools in the Ouest, Artibonite and Sud’Est Departments, with a goal of scaling it up to the whole country.
This is one of several projects Nutrition International and WFP have collaborated on over more than a decade as part of a partnership to improve nutrition and food security for vulnerable people ― especially women and children ― globally.
Nutrition International has supported the distribution of twice annual vitamin A supplementation (VAS) to children under five in Haiti for nearly a decade. Working with partners, including UNICEF, World Food Programme, World Health Organization and local NGOs, Nutrition International has helped to reinforce Haiti’s Ministry of Health’s Vitamin A Strategy.
The strategy is currently focused on delivering VAS through the routine public health system, with additional emphasis on community outreach as well as key periods throughout the year via health volunteers. In demonstration phases, this approach has shown a tremendous increase in the number of children reached.
Prior to this strategy, Nutrition International teamed up with partners to support the Ministry of Health’s Child Health Week Strategy – which provided life-saving interventions such as vitamin A and de-worming tablets to children under five – and inclusion of vitamin A in collaboration with immunization campaigns.
Nutrition International worked with the Ministry of Health and local partners to implement a pilot diarrhoea treatment project, which includes zinc and ORS, in the North and North-West Departments. This pilot project that included in-depth research on caregivers’ care-seeking behaviours for diarrhoea treatment, health worker training, monitoring and reporting tools, as well as the development of a behaviour change strategy and materials. Following the pilot project, recommendations were made for scale-up to the Ministry of Health and NGO partners.
Multiple Micronutrient Powders
In 2014-2015, Nutrition International supported a community-based pilot project to improve the efficient use of MNPs in home fortification of food for children 6-23 months of age in the North and West Department, with a focus on:
- community-based delivery of MNPs;
- capacity building of frontline and community health workers for adequate delivery and counseling on appropriate use of MNPs;
- counselling of care givers on the preparation of MNPs to ensure its consumption by children.