USAID Concludes Project for Improving Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 15, 2014
USAID/Egypt
cairomedia@usaid.gov

Cairo – The U.S. Government announced yesterday that over 23,000 malnourished Egyptian children have regained their normal growth potential through a project that taught health care workers new techniques to improve nutrition and reduce maternal and infant mortality.  Through the USAID-funded SmartChoices for Healthy Living project, Save the Children trained more than 3,000 health service providers and 1,200 community health workers to provide advice and assistance about pregnancy, child care, and improved nutrition.

“Good nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life impacts that child’s ability to grow and develop,” said Dr. Anne E. Patterson, Acting Director of the USAID mission in Egypt. “USAID’s low-cost, easy to use interventions have helped to decrease child mortality in Egypt by 85 percent since 1980.  Early results from a stunting study show that child malnutrition can be reduced in Egypt using simple, cost-effective measures.”

Through this two-year project that concludes this month, Save the Children trained 1,200 community health workers to provide support and key maternal and child health education in their communities. The project published the 1,000 Day Series, a set of guidelines for physicians, nurses, and community health workers that is freely available for public use. In addition, the project helped twelve community development associations expand a pilot program to show their effectiveness in in improving the quality of health care in rural communities.

The project is finalizing a four-part study that monitored 300 women and their babies over a year, monitoring growth, nutrition, and behavior. Preliminary results show that child malnutrition can be prevented in Egypt and the rate of maternal and infant mortality can be further reduced by the introduction of simple, cost-effective measures.

Over the past 30 years, the U.S. Government, through USAID, has invested almost $30 billion in development projects in Egypt, of which $1.5 billion has gone toward health initiatives. In addition to improving the health and well-being of Egyptians through increasing the skills of health care workers, the American people have contributed to infrastructure projects that have provided water, electricity, and telephone services to nearly all of Egypt.  Education projects have contributed to doubling the number of girls in schools.

Last updated: December 12, 2014

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