Baby scales save lives

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Anjeva Gare, Madagascar: Figures speak for themselves—fifty percent of children under five years in Madagascar are acutely or chronically malnourished. The US government through USAID/Madagascar and its community health project, Santenet2, is working to put an end to this situation by presenting, on Thursday May 24, twenty baby scales to the community health volunteers (CHVs) in Anjeva Gare and Ambanitsena communes, to help them monitor the growth of children 5 in their respective villages.

To help prevent stunting caused by chronic malnutrition, the USAID/Madagascar-funded Santenet2 project will then present 3,000 baby scales, worth Ariary 122 million ($61,000), to health workers across 16 regions in Madagascar.

The community health volunteers joyfully conducted a weighing session after the ceremony, which took place on a market day in the commune. Parents, particularly mothers, came in large numbers to weigh their children.

Improving child survival is a priority for USAID and its Santenet2 project. Since it started, the project has trained over 12,000 CHVs in 800 rural communes, half of whom provide services to improve child health in 5,758 fokontany located more than 5km from a health center (CSB). Community health workers play a key role in regularly monitoring the growth of more vulnerable children. Monitoring and promoting mother and child health help detect more than 83,500 malnourished children every year. These children are then referred to the local health center for longer-term care.

The more than $31 million 5-year Santenet2 project (2008-2013) is a major component of USAID’s health assistance in Madagascar. Through the KM Salama or “champion commune” approach, Santenet2 supports community health workers CHVs by providing them with needed equipment and tools to meet people’s health needs at the local level.

The work of the US government in Madagascar reflects the American people’s commitment to bringing their assistance to vulnerable populations. This year, USAID/Madagascar is providing more than $71 million assistance to the Malagasy people and investing in health, food security, and water and sanitation programs.

Last updated: April 07, 2014

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