Improving maternal nutrition by integrating it into the health system

Leveraging Counselors of the Nutrition Rehabilitation Center for Maternal Nutrition Counseling of mothers in Jharkhand

Recently the State has taken initiative to integrate Maternal Nutrition package into ANC platform at ANC clinics and VHSND across the state. The directives, guidelines, IEC materials (flip books, counseling cards, Algorithms etc.) for maternal nutrition assessment and counseling has been approved by NHM Jharkhand and rolled out across 24 districts. The master trainers from the medical colleges and District Hospitals are playing a critical role of building capacity and mentoring the service providers to integrate the maternal nutrition in their routine ANC services. The service providers usually face challenges in conducting quality counseling during ANC. The Patient load and non-availability of adequate counselor at ANC often results to noncompliance of counseling. To extend the reach, the state has engaged the existing nutrition (IYCF) counselors of the Nutrition Rehabilitation Center (NRC) in Jharkhand to provide maternal nutrition counseling to mothers in their respective facilities. There are 96 NRC in the state which are located at the District Hospitals and Community Health Centers. So far, these counselors were providing nutrition counseling only for the children but now they will also counsel mothers on their nutrition and health. In the process of building the strategy the state has started with Ranchi district engaging the nursing staffs and the counselors to start nutrition counseling at NRC using the approved IEC materials on maternal nutrition including breastfeeding. The first batch of integrated training of the nursing staffs and the counselor of the NRC of Ranchi district was held at the Institute of Public Health, Namkum, Ranchi in June 2022. This training was funded by NHM and technically supported by State Center of Excellence for SAM Management (SCoE-SAM) at RIMS, MIYCN center of IPH/NHM and UNICEF. 

Dr. Ratnesh, State Master Trainer, MIYCN facilitating the session on counseling using algorithm, flip book, and counseling cards.