The nutrition status of children under five in Nepal is still alarming despite some improvement over the last decade. There is a range of adverse outcomes related to poor nutrition and the damage it causes to brain development. Severe anemia caused by malnutrition can result in lower intelligence, which in turn, impacts on educability and productivity. Recent national representative data reveals that 36% of under-fives are stunted, 27% are underweight, 10% are wasted, and 53% are anemic (Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, 2016).Further, chronic malnutrition forms a vicious cycle, affecting generation after generation. There is variation in the prevalence of malnutrition in urban and rural setting. In urban prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting is about 32 percent, 23 percent and 9 percent respectively (NDHS, 2016). In reference of these statistics, Chhimeki has given priority to monitoring the nutritional status of young children through its Growth Monitoring program, which is conducted in its working areas. In the first week of every month of the Nepali calendar, Chhimeki’s trained volunteers weigh children under 3 years in their community. At these sessions the volunteers also demonstrate the preparation of nutritious food, such as Sarbottam Pitho, and counsel mothers about their children’s overall growth. If a child is identified as underweight, the mothers are provided counseling and referred to health facilities center as needed.
Growth Monitoring is running in eleven wards of KMC, in 87 specific locations in these wards. To date, 3828 children are in contact with us, with an average of 1519 children participating in the program every month. Since its inception till 2015, 66,940 children have been registered and received our services.
Pooja Maharjan, Age 37 years (volunteer)
I am Pooja. I took Chhimeki’s volunteer training in the year 2007. This training provided me an opportunity to come out of the house and get knowledge related to nutritional status of antenatal/post natal mothers and children below three years. I started weighing in my community from 2012. I take weight of the children every month in ward no. 30 and counsel parents regarding children’s health and nutritious food. Because of weighing, many mothers know me and I get respect in the community. Just like how I was taken out of the house and trained I want Chhimeki to do more such kind of training.
Sangeeta Lohani, Age 21 years (mother)
I am from Bharatpur district. But I have been residing in Kathmandu for many years. It has already been a year since I have first started coming with my son for weighing. My son is 22 months old. I came to know about the growth monitoring through Chhimeki’s volunteer. She came to my house to give me this information.
It has become easier for me to know about my child’s weight every month. Not only that, we can also monitor if his weight is decreasing or increasing. The volunteers also inform us about what and how many times we should feed our children. We also came to know about Sarbottam pitho.
Yamuna Maharjan, Age 27 years (mother)
My daughter is 19 months old. We come every month for weighing. I started coming here when my baby was 5 months old. In the weighing session volunteers counsel us about timely feeding, nutritious food, children’s growth and development.
I really want to thank Chhimeki for coming to us and giving this service free of cost.