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.

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S Afr J Clin Nutr: ISSN (Print): 1607-0658, ISSN (Web): 2221-1268

The South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition (SAJCN) is peer reviewed and an approved South African journal for the measurement of research output of public higher education institutions (Department of Education (DE) accredited).

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