6.7 Strategies to promote proper nutrition in a community
You have now had an opportunity to consider some of the problems of malnutrition, its common causes, and the consequences of malnutrition at family level and community level. As a Health Extension Practitioner you may be able to decrease the rate of malnutrition and minimise the effects of malnutrition on your own community.
There are six strategies that have been found to promote proper nutrition in a community. These are:
- Basic education
- Healthy environment
- Maternal and child care
- Healthy social and family life
- Proper agriculture
- Public health measures.
As a Health Extension Practitioner you have a role to play in all of these strategies.
Basic education: This is a very important for improving child nutrition and care. Therefore advocacy should be done to promote equal chances of education for both boys and girls since this is important to enable them to become better parents themselves.
Healthy environment: Availability and easy access to safe and adequate water for drinking, cooking and cleaning are important aspects of each person’s development and the maintenance of their health.
Maternal and childcare: Prevention of prematurity, proper antenatal care and promotion of good feeding practices are important interventions that may help to decrease malnutrition within your community.
Healthy social and family life: Strong family planning services may help families to limit the number of children they have; social integration and communal care may support orphans and children with special needs.
Proper agriculture: Diversification through planting the right number of different kinds of seeds should be promoted, and food distribution at household level should be equitable, giving children and pregnant mothers priority.
Public health measures: These include prevention and treatment of maternal infections during pregnancy and delivery. Immunizations against preventable diseases as well as an emphasis on growth promotion and monitoring activities are also important public health strategies to prevent malnutrition in the community.
Part of your role includes working with other professionals and community leaders to help promote these strategies and help improve the nutritional status of people living in your community.