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Is there any example of adolescent inclusive nutrition programming in general and in Covid19 situation in particular?

This question was posted the Adolescent nutrition forum area and has 1 replies.

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Aisha Fatima

Nutrition International

Normal user

12 Jun 2020, 12:52

As we know, adolescents are vulnerable segment of popultaion and prone to nutritional issues due to multiple factors like inadequate diet both in quantity and quality, poor knowledge around important of good nutrition, impact of childhood stunting, intra HH food alloctaion and poor health care seeking/poor access to health and nutrition services. These issues lead to anemia and other MN deficiencies, thinness and obesity etc. In emergencies, the issue mutliplies which further affects both boys and girls but girls in particular.

Moroever, early marriages and adolescent pregnancy further worsens the problem/nutrition status. and then the children born to girls under 18 are at higher risk of morbidity and mortality like stunting etc.

Generally, routine HMIS/NMIS data doesnt speak about their issues as there is issues around age segregated data.

My questions is how can we make our programs adolescent sensitive and responsive towards their needs in both development and emergency situations to break or hinder this intergenerational cycle of cycle of malnutrition.

Emily Keats

Sr. Research Associate, C-GCH, SickKids

Technical expert

16 Jul 2020, 16:04

Hi there, 

Thank you for this thoughtful question! There are several ways that nutrition programs, both in development and emergency situations, can be made adolescent sensitive. If you are in a position where you can influence the design of a program, you may think about including a participatory research approach. This kind of approach to design engages adolescents from the outset to obtain their critical insights and opinions on the progammatic elements, including effective behaviour change communication strategies, intervention delivery strategies, sustainability, etc. This will not only engage and empower adolescents, but may help to achieve the desired nutritional outcomes among these populations. Here is a great brief to read on this method: https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/IRB_2017_07_Adol05.pdf 

There are other implementation considerations that should include elements of equity, to reach the most vulerable adolescents including those who are out of school, and the availability of adoelscent-friendly health and nutrition services. This WHO guideline outlines evidence-based interventions for improving adoelscent nutrition, and also touches on some of these additional considerations. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/260297/9789241513708-eng.pdf 

In terms of emergency situations, such as COVID-19, including adolescents in the response will be critical to ensure the direct and indirect impacts of this virus are mitigated to the best of our ability. Though this strategy (https://www.unicef.org/media/66761/file/Practical-Tips-on-Engaging-Adolescents-and-Youth-in-the-COVID-19-Response-2020.pdf) is more focused on efforts to engage adolescents more generally around COVID-19 preparedness and response, many of these same tips will apply to any nutrition program that is being deployed in an emergency setting. 

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