Maternal and child undernutrition has been identified as the underlying cause of 3.5 million deaths annually, which is 35 percent of the global disease burden for children under five years old. Millions more are left permanently disabled by the physical and mental effects of poor dietary intake.
Undernutrition is not merely a result of too little food. It is a consequence of many factors:
- Repeated illnesses.
- Inadequate access to health services.
- Insufficient macro and micronutrient intake.
- Unsafe water and lack of access to improved sanitation.
Each year, severe acute malnutrition affects more than 20 million children under five years old and results in more than 1 million deaths. Severe acute malnutrition interventions are mainly targeted in emergency contexts where the need is heightened. However children living in non-emergency contexts also suffer from severe acute malnutrition. These children typically go unnoticed by governments and donors alike.
Behind the staggering statistics of undernutrition in most developing countries are:
- Poor nutrition among pregnant women that leads to low birth weight babies.
- Sub‐optimal exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life that leaves infants vulnerable to an array of infections at a time when their immune systems are not fully developed.
- Inadequate complementary feeding − lacking nutrients both in quality and quantity − that is not always prepared in an age appropriate manner.
Maternal, infant and young child (MIYCN) feeding practices can effectively improve the nutritional outcome of pregnant mothers and their infants. Evidence suggests that the most effective interventions include:
- Promotion of exclusive breastfeeding.
- Micronutrient supplementation.
- Provision of complementary feeding.
Nutrition interventions can also have an impact by reducing the severity and incidence of diseases such as diarrhea, malaria and respiratory infections.
Cost-effective and proven interventions, when appropriately tailored and applied during the “The “First 1,000 Days” from conception to age two—sometimes called the Window of Opportunity–can break the vicious cycle of undernutrition.
Each year, severe acute malnutrition affects more than 20 million children under five and results in more than one million under five deaths. Severe acute malnutrition interventions are mainly targeted in emergency contexts where the need is heightened. However children living in non-emergency contexts also suffer from severe acute malnutrition. These children typically go unnoticed by governments and donors alike.
We reach women and children through community health workers and private sector providers as well as public health facilities. Our nutrition interventions integrate with existing programs in more than 65 countries.
Zinc deficiency is one of the key micronutrient deficiencies that adversely impact children. We promote zinc in conjunction with ORS and continued feeding. The full 10-day course of zinc not only reduces diarrhea severity, but also protects against diarrhea infection by improving a child’s zinc status.
We integrate the treatment of severe acute malnutrition, using the community-based approaches, into integrated case management programs. Our vast network of community health workers and social franchises provides outreach and care on an outpatient basis through early identification of children with acute malnutrition.
We have distributed over 48 million iron folic acid tablets for pregnant women, and over 13 million sachets of micronutrient powder.
We focus on reducing morbidity and mortality related to undernutrition through prevention of nutritional deficiencies, supplementation to overcome micronutrient deficiencies and therapeutic management of severe acute malnutrition.
- Micronutrients: We use various channels to distribute micronutrient powders in conjunction with behavior change programs to ensure appropriate use of both micronutrient powders and fortified foods.
- Prenatal Vitamins: We work to ensure healthy mothers and newborns by promoting Iron-Folic acid supplements and multivitamins for pregnant women.
- Breastfeeding: We promote immediate and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding for two years along with appropriate complementary feeding.
- Integrated Case Management: Our integrated case management programs reduce death and severe disease through prompt and effective diagnosis and treatment where and when people need it.
- Maternal Anemia
This brief offers background information on maternal anemia, what it means for newborns, what's new in the discussion and where PSI stands on the topic.
- PSI Nutrition
This is a brief includes a history of PSI's nutrition programming and outlines interventions.
- Nutrition: Community of Practice for Home Fortification
This brief explains how implementation of home fortification programmes can potentially foster inter-country learning, making programme scale up faster and more efficient.
- Partners Launch Pilot Program to Combat Undernutrition in Madagascar
Intensive interpersonal communication by trained community health workers, radio messages and mobile video units will support a new pilot program that aims to tackle one persistent form of malnutrition in Madagascar. In late February 2013, PSI/Madagascar started distributing the new Micronutrient Powder branded Zazatomady targeting caregivers of children 6-23 months old.
- Super Bebé TV Spot (English subtitles)
First TV ad for a new nutrition product, Super Bebé, aimed at children between six months and two years old. Super Bebe is part of PSI Mozambique and was created based on consumer insights as the umbrella brand for food supplements and other nutrition solutions.
- Madagascar: A Mother’s Tale of Nutrition and Health
Odette is a 27-year-old mother with three children whose greatest challenge lies in how to best feed her family.
- Measurable Results: PSI Child Survival
PSI strives to focus on the needs of children by integrating pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition programs that produce measureable results and ensure a positive impact on the health of children worldwide. This brief provides an overview of these health areas and a description of how PSI is responding.
- Breastfeeding in Pakistan Television Commercial
Greenstar, PSI's local affiliate in Pakistan, developed this video in conjunction with USAID and the Department of Health of the Government of Sindh, to encourage mothers to breastfeed their newborns within the first hour of birth. This message began airing in 2013 as part of a five-year maternal and child health program.
- How to Use “SuperKid”
This short film, developed by PSI/Laos with support from MMG, UNICEF, and in collaboration with the Lao Ministry of Health, is shown by a mobile video unit set up in villages.The video answers questions about child health in Laos and shows a live cooking demonstration on how to use SuperKid- a micro-nutrient powder proven to reduce anemia in children under 5.
- The Social Marketing Evidence Base: a Web-Based Resource on Social Marketing Effectiveness in Global Health
PSI is one of the largest social marketing agencies in the world but is challenged to demonstrate the effectiveness of its strategies for achieving health improvements in low- and middle-income countries. In response, PSI created the Social Marketing Evidence Base (SMEB), a web-based database of systematically reviewed literature on the effectiveness of social marketing in HIV/STIs, tuberculosis, reproductive health, malaria, and child survival.