The Nutrition Working Group, called Grupo de Trabajo en Nutrición (GTN) in Honduras, has been created in May 2021 and is lead by the SESAL/MoH and UNICEF and co-lead by Action Against Hunger. It is embeded in the Food Security cluster and counts already with 56 partners from 19 different organizations. Coordination meetings at national level are held on a weekly basis with an atendance of 15 participants in average. A Strategic Advisory Group and a HRP Revision Comité have been elected by the GTN partners. Based on Comunities feedback and field observations, a Task Force on Nutrition and Disabilities have been formed to investigate the situation and guide the response for this paricular vulnerable group of beneficiaries.
January to December 2021
According to data and estimates from the SESAL/MoH, CIF and ENDESAS/MICS, the nutritional situation of children under 5 and pregnant and lactating women is deteriorating significantly. All departments of the country have a combination of global acute and chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies among children under 5 and pregnant and lactating women, and inadequate infant and young child feeding practices that bring the number of people in need of support to a very worrying level never reached in the last decade.
It is important to note that several of the most affected departments in the country in terms of malnutrition are those that were also affected by tropical storms and suffer from COVID-19, migration and violence, leaving little doubt about the severity of the situation and the need to implement emergency nutrition programmes.
In structural terms, the 2020 maternal and child health evaluation conducted by the Cortés Health Region shows that the performance indicators of the AIN-C strategy (Atención Integral a la Infancia que cuenta con actividades en nutrición) have been in steady decline since 2014 (start date), reaching their lowest level after the hurricanes. In addition, the SESAL/MoH does not currently have a protocol for managing cases of acute malnutrition in children under 5 years of age.
For more information read the full Regional HNO 2021 (Honduras, Guatemala, Salvador): https://reliefweb.int/report/guatemala/el-salvador-guatemala-y-honduras…
1. Ensure, in coordination with all actors, the surveillance, early detection, referral and treatment of global acute malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies among children under 5 years of age, pregnant and lactating women.
2. Lead actions in the prevention of nutritional deterioration of children under 5 years, pregnant and lactating women in an environment conducive to good development.
3. Strengthen the coordination and articulation of the Nutrition sector, ensuring the integration of sensitive and specific nutrition activities in key humanitarian sectors, allowing a timely response to emergencies.
The main objective of the Nutrition Working Group (NWG - Grupo de Trabajo en Nutrición/GTN) is to reduce morbidity and mortality due to acute malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies in the most vulnerable groups which are children and pregnant and lactating women (PLWs).
The GTN estimates that 38,000 children under 5 years of age will suffer from acute malnutrition during the course of the year in Honduras, of which 14,000 with severe acute malnutrition will have 12 times the risk of death compared to a child with normal nutritional status. In addition, 60% of children aged 6-8 months are currently anaemic, with negative physical and physiological consequences, impacting their learning and developmental capacities in the long term if a large-scale response is not implemented to counteract this trend.
The GTN plans to develop activities for the detection and management of all forms of malnutrition in Honduras (acute malnutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, chronic malnutrition, overweight and obesity) through the national health system, adapting the care protocols to COVID-19, minimizing risks of exposure of health personnel and beneficiaries, for example through the simplified approach CMAM (management of acute malnutrition at the community level) in time of COVID. In addition, multidisciplinary mobile teams will be deployed to reach remote communities, people on the move and people affected by new emergencies with: Blanket Supplementary Feeding Program (BFSP), detection and management of malnutrition, micronutrient supplementation, sensitization, integrating Child Protection and Health.
It is also foreseen to increase the outreach of nutrition activities at community level (screening, CMAM, prevention), empowering families and in priority women in understanding the risks of malnutrition and early detection of malnutrition (family MUAC) supported by mass communication campaigns towards women, men and decision makers and involvement of youth/adolescent/student groups in the fight against malnutrition.
In order to prevent all forms of malnutrition, the GTN plans to reach at least 81,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women and 40,000 men with specific activities on prevention and promotion of good infant, young child and pregnant and breastfeeding women feeding practices. The Pregnancy Clubs and the AIN-C strategy (Integrated Community Based Child Care) implemented in health facilities will be the entry points to revitalise and redirect the nutrition response. Greater focus will be given to children under 6 months of age, since in Honduras only 1 in 3 children of this age are exclusively breastfed and those who are not breastfed correctly are 14 times more likely to die from pneumonia or diarrhoea.
To refine and adapt the messages and interventions, the GTN already organized the first workshop in a series with Indigenous Group Leaders (7 groups present out of 9 in the country, 35 participants in total), where the voice of women was represented, to collect their views on the problem of malnutrition in their communities and exchange on the potential difficulties or advantages to have Nutrition responses implemented in their areas.
In order to improve the nutritional status of the most vulnerable groups in the country, the NWG/GTN will raise awareness, coordinate and negotiate with other sectors for the implementation of nutrition sensitive and nutrition specific activities and advocate for the implementation of a package of integrated activities in order to propose a more holistic support to those in need (e.g. WASH in Nut, ...). A workshop has already taken place in this regard and it was agreed that the NWG/GTN would form advocacy teams to approach each key sector. Furthermore, at the beginning of July 2021 it was unanimously validated by the GTN partners that each training module for Nutrition staff will have a component on prevention and fight against Gender Based Violence, as a first step towards gender responsive nutrition programmes.
The GTN conducted a prioritisation of intervention areas during an extensive consultative process of all partners (several working sessions) and in the light of information from the other sectors. Initially, using only key nutrition indicators, 6 departments were prioritised. To this list, in consultation with the Ministry of Health (SESAL), the Food Security cluster and taking into account the priorities of other sectors, 6 additional departments have been added. In conclusion, the GTN plans to respond to the needs of 364,000 people, with particular attention to 12 departments with an accumulation of cross-sectoral aggravating factors (Gracias a Dios, Yoro, Cortés, Olancho, El Paraíso, Atlántida, Valle, Lempira, La Paz, Francisco Morazán, Choluteca). The GTN leaves itself the possibility of prioritising some municipalities within these departments (based on the level of affectation) and also the possibility of intervening in a department not initially prioritised should the need arise and be confirmed.
For more information read the full Honduras HRP 2021:
Or its resume:
- Lack of visibility of the Nutrition situation in Honduras.
- Nutrition being embeded in the Food Security Cluster, the Nutrition in Emergencies needs are invisibilized.
- Lack of Community Management of Acute Malnutrition protocol.
- Lack of expertise in country around Nutrition in Emergencies programs.
- In 2021, the Nutrition Sector did not receive any funds through the HRP.