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Use of Mother Child Protection Card for Improving Infant Feeding Practices
For the last four decades India had invested in interventions for improving household food security, supplementary feeding programmes and health care to pre-school children. However under-nutrition rates in under-five children continue to be high. Poor infant and young child feeding and caring practices had been identified as the major modifiable factors associated with under-nutrition especially in the critical first two years. Mother Child Protection Card (MCPC) was introduced as the critical intervention tool for combating these two factors and improving nutritional status of the children. A community based mixed longitudinal study was taken up in urban low middle income group mothers with under-three children to assess feasibility and impact of using MCPC as a supportive tool for nutrition and health education regarding infant and young child feeding and care during illness. Mothers readily accepted MCPC, kept it safely and produced it when requested. MCPC with authentic pictorial messages was used by all health and nutrition front line workers and research team; this practice ensured uniformity in nutrition and health education messages. Over 90% of infants at 2 months and over 2/3rd at 5 months were solely breast-fed. By 8th month almost all infants received semi-solid food. Almost all families accessed health care during illness and followed the advice regarding feeding during illness and convalescence. As a result the mean z scores for weight-for-age did not show any deterioration in the first year. MCPC is a useful tool in providing nutrition and health education and improving infant feeding practices.
Mother Child Protection Card, Under-Three Children, Infant Feeding, Morbidity, Nutritional Status.
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