A community-based growth monitoring model to complement facility-based nutrition and health practices in a semi-urban community in South Africa

  • Serina E Schoeman
  • Muhammad A Dhansay
  • John E Fincham
  • Ernesta Kunneke
  • A J Spinnler Benadé


Objective: To assess the feasibility of a community-based growth monitoring model in alleviating the shortcomings in health and nutrition surveillance of preschool-aged children as practised by the health services. Method: Baseline community and health facility practice surveys and interactive workshops with the community were conducted before the study. Eleven women were trained to drive the community-based growth monitoring project. Health facility practice information was collected before and after establishment of the community-based growth monitoring system. Results: The health facility practice reached 12 - 26% of the preschool population per month compared with 70 - 100% per 3-week session in the community-based growth monitoring system. The community-based growth monitoring system increased growth monitoring coverage of preschool children by more than 60%. Attendance of preschool children aged 12 months and older varied between 10% and 14% at the health facility practice compared with 80 - 100% in the community-based growth monitoring system. This made the system more conducive for monitoring and targeting of malnourished children for health and nutrition interventions. Conclusion: The community-based growth monitoring model demonstrated that community participation and mobilisation can increase preschool child growth monitoring coverage extensively and contribute to improved health and nutrition surveillance.
Original Research