Despite significant improvements in undernutrition in Bangladesh in recent years, stunting remains at the high rate of 36 percent. A wide range of efforts is underway by the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) and other stakeholders to improve nutrition outcomes in Bangladesh. Through its Feed the Future and Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths initiatives, the U.S. Government is at the forefront in support of the GOB’s efforts.
The Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) project works in Bangladesh to improve maternal and child nutrition. In collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh, SPRING uses strategic partnerships, targeted technical assistance, and innovative approaches that address the underlying causes of malnutrition to help drive down rates of stunting in resource-poor households along the country’s coastal belt. SPRING/Bangladesh is helping drive down rates of stunting through strategic partnerships, targeted technical assistance, and innovative approaches that address underlying aspects of malnutrition in Bangladesh. With an alignment to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement and building on the Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA), SPRING also features nutrition-sensitive programming, such as agricultural linkages and the promotion of handwashing. A USAID-funded nutrition project, SPRING works through two U.S. Government foreign assistance initiatives: Feed the Future and Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths.
SPRING/Bangladesh conducts activities in 40 upazilas, or sub-districts, in the USAID Feed the Future zones of influence of Barisal and Khulna divisions. We train health and agricultural workers from within the GOB and from nongovernmental organizations to counsel 1,000 days households (households with pregnant and lactating women and children under two years of age). This training develops workers’ confidence and capacity to provide guidance on the essential nutrition actions (ENA) and the essential hygiene actions (EHA) at a variety of contact points, from community clinics to home visits. We also provide state-of-the-art technical support to help prevent stunting and maternal and child anemia in the first 1,000 days. SPRING/Bangladesh has established communitybased farmer nutrition schools (FNS) to promote the production of nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, and animal source foods at the household level. We incorporate ENA and EHA into modules on vegetable gardening, poultry rearing, and fish production. By emphasizing small “doable” actions, we give FNS participants the knowledge and skills they need to link food production with improved nutrition and hygiene practices, including exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, and consumption of a diversified diet. The inconvenient placement of handwashing stations, or, in some cases, the complete lack of handwashing stations, is a substantial hindrance to the uptake of optimal handwashing practices at the household level. In response, SPRING/Bangladesh has introduced household “tippy taps.” A tippy tap is a simple water-saving handwashing device that increases the availability of water for handwashing at significant points around the household. All trainees and FNS members are taught and encouraged to build and use at least two household tippy taps beside toilets and kitchens to improve the adoption of improved hygiene practices. Repeated exposure to pathogens significantly increases a child’s risk of contracting illnesses, such as diarrheal diseases, which can result in stunting and other health complications.
• Scale up promotion of the Essential Nutrition Actions and the Essential Hygiene Actions (ENA/EHA) within the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), and in collaboration with non-governmental (NGO) health and agriculture projects.
• Enhance the capacity of frontline health and agriculture workers within the MOHFW and MOA, field and peer facilitators, and community groups to deliver quality nutrition services and counseling.
• Increase household access to and utilization of diversified foods through farmer nutrition schools (FNS).
• Enhance project learning and sharing.
• Since its inception, SPRING/Bangladesh has established 6,421 FNS groups, supporting 126,255 pregnant and lactating women and caregivers of children under two.
• Since May 2012, SPRING/Bangladesh has trained more than 500 supervisory health workers, more than 4,000 frontline health workers, almost 1,000 agricultural extension workers and more than 8,000 community peer facilitators on ENA and EHA.
• 126,255 pregnant and lactating women have benefited from farmer nutrition schools