This year has been about connecting up with other organisations here in India and studying the core roots of malnutrition and what is working in different places. It has been about asking questions and listening. There is no need to reinvent the wheel as long as we are prepared to push.
The goals have changed a lot from January till now. It is exciting to see the momentum the project has taken. Now we see that in order to create a sustainable change not just in Varanasi but in India we need to be that change. Our vision now is to create a complete nutrition program in a centre of excellence, incorporating all aspects of nutrition from mother to child, so that other organisations can learn from us. In order to do this we have identified the following key interventions.
- Set up the local production of ready to use foods. We have identified 2 local NGOs who would have the capacity and willingness to do so. We are receiving best practise guidance from UNICEF on this. Why this is so important. The Indian Government is putting a lot of obstacles in the way of organisations using R.U.T.F. however if local production of this product can be done then it will allow more organisations to set up programs.
- Teach other organisations how to do nutrition surveys, identifying children with malnutrition. We now have 20 workers from other organisations trained to do this.
- Production of arm measurement bands for distribution as they are an easy and recognised method to diagnose malnutrition and there is a huge lack of supply here. First batch is now in production.
- Providing extra nutritional food to pregnant and lactating Mothers. In co-operation with a partner organisation who will provide a food that they have formulated to us and we for our part are helping them set up a malnutrition program for the children in the areas where they work
- To promote breast feeding. In partnership with the breast feeding association of India who are going to train up 2 of our workers to be breast feeding promoters in the summer
- Set up health camps in out-lying village areas, searching out malnutrition cases (it is often hidden due to stigma and shame), going to a new area every 2 weeks. This is in its planning stage now. Posters are being designed and possible routes being researched.
- Successfully treat 300 children for severe malnutrition in 2014 thus far, we have treated 55 children.
We currently have 17 children on the program and all are doing well. 5 children will be discharged fully from us in the coming week. It is beautiful to see our empty beds knowing that we are doing so much.
Thank you, this video is about the birth of the Varanasi Project and what has been achieved.