Health Development

Improving nutrition for hundreds of Cham H’roi children

Located in the remote mountainous area of Phu Yen province, 100% of Phu Mo commune’s residents are of Cham H’roi ethnic group. 25% of the children in the community are malnourished. Being aware of this situation, MCNV has cooperated with local partners in Phu Yen to bring about better meals and better lives to the children.

Malnutrition obsession

On contrary to the name which means “rich and fertile”, Phu Mo is known as the highest, remotest and poorest commune in the southern central province of Phu Yen.

With a population of more than 3,000, 70% of the local residents are impoverished or living on the threshold of poverty.

Local people earn their living on shifting cultivation, earning for their livings mostly by planting cassava. Due to the instable price, this crop only can help them generate a limited and instable income. Rice, cassava leaves, wild vegetables and chili mixed with salt are what usually seen in their daily meal.

According to a survey conducted by MCNV and Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy in March 2018, 76.7% of the households in Phu Mo and Xuan Quang 1 communes (Dong Xuan district) did not have sufficient food to eat each year. Besides low income, people in these localities face with another challenge in access to food, which is the shortage of supply, since most nearby groceries only sell dried food like instant noodles, porridge and snack for kids. Meanwhile, in kindergartens, neither lunch nor breakfast is provided due to the lack of funding.

In Phu Mo commune, out of 100 kids, 25 suffer from malnourishment, in the form of stunting or underweight. In some villages, this rate even exceeds 50%.

Mang Thi Su, 25 years old, is a mother of two children: one boy (6 years old) and one girl (3 years old). Both of them were pale and weak, due to malnutrition. Feeding the kids was a tough job for the young mommy, since regardless of how hard she tried, her children kept refusing to eat.

Mang Thi Su prepares a meal for her children

According to MCNV, the high rate of malnutrition in Phu Yen is caused by several factors. Apart from economic constraint and scarcity of quality food supply, parents’ lack of understanding and knowledges in childcare and nutrition is a critical factor which must be tackled.

Awareness change

In June 2018, the concerns of Su and other women in Phu Mo commune began to be relieved thanks to the project “Scaling up of malnutrition fighting initiatives based on agricultural solutions in the mountainous areas of Vietnam and Laos ”(referred to as Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture – NSA), implemented by MCNV.

Thanks to the project, for the first time, Su gained basic knowledge in nutrition, learn how to prepare suitable meals for her children with tasty, nutritious yet still affordable dishes.

The instruction of nutritionists and healthcare advisors has enabled Su to diversify the ingredients for the daily meals, and turn them into child-friendly dishes (pleasant to taste and easy to digest). The dishes Su cooks now looks more catchy, as they are added the colors of a variety of healthy ingredients. Some of them are very easy to find in her home garden, such as tomatoes, carrots, eggs, etc.

Nowadays, in Su’s family’s every meal, the pleasure has replaced the worry, and the excitement has filled the eyes of the children. Her home is now full of smile and laugher, instead of the sound of scolding and crying. “He (Su’s son) loves colorful dishes very much. He can eat one bowl or even one and a half bowl of rice with food. I am overwhelmed with joy, especially when he finishes eating, sits on a scale and asks me “Mom, how much do I weigh now?” In the young mom’s eyes, happiness sparkles.

The change in one individual step by step leads to the change of a group and later on spread to several groups. Every month or every week, members of each group gather for a meeting, at which they share about the health and nutrition situation of their children. They often exchange opinions and learn from healthy child-rearing examples and update cases that need to be monitored, practicing how to prepare nutritious and affordable dishes.

Joining hands to solve the malnutrition problem

Improving the community’s awareness about nutrition in childcare is one of the many activities conducted in the NSA project. A holistic approach has been implemented with the close coordination of four sectors: health, agriculture, education and private businesses.

Under the coordination of local health staff, district, commune and village workshops and trainings were implemented. Health workers, leaders of mother groups and pre-school teachers are trained in nutrition and environmental sanitation. Children get regular health checkups, and severely malnourished children receive treatment.

In addition, households are trained to increase production, improve nutrition from their own gardens, fields and yard, for example raising chicken to lay eggs, or intercropping with vegetables and fruits.

To increase the quality of children’s meals, the NSA project also gives funding to preschools to provide in-school lunches and breakfasts, as well as orienting the private sector (food and grocery stores) to sell nutritious products such as porridge, cakes, and cereal flour, and facilitating the household to access nutritional products.

The NSA project is implemented by MCNV in Dong Xuan district in the period of 2017-2020, in cooperation with different partners, including WOTRO, the Vrije University Amsterdam (Netherlands), Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, and Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy.

Not only does it solve the problem of malnutrition among Vietnamese children, the NSA project also supports Lao children in 10 villages of Nong district, Savannakhet province. Currently, the Lao side has completed the initial survey, knowledge sharing and quantitative research survey toolkit, trained on research methods, data analysis, development of intervention plans and organized some initial intervention activities.

MCNV’s nutrition project is an effort towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 2 on hunger eradication, food security, nutritional improvement and agricultural development.

By Phi Yến (Vietnam Times)

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CANTEEN presents the 2019 work plan for projects in Nong Village, Savannakhet Province

On December 25, 2018, the Collaboration and Networking to Enhance Education and Nutrition (CANTEEN) Project implemented an Annual Meeting to report on the progress of the project over the past year and to present the work plan for the 2019 project in Nong Village, Savannakhet Province.

The Annual Meeting was attended by Mr. Bounyom Nournlasy, Deputy Director of Nong District, Mr. Keo Sengdavong, Chief of National Foreign Affairs Department, Dr. Sengda Seedalai, Department of Public Health Province, Mr. Sivone Mouanaotu, CANTEEN Project Manager and all partners including: the Women’s federation, Ministry of Agriculture-forestry, teachers, medical staff, and local authorities.

The objective of CANTEEN is to reduce malnutrition in vulnerable groups, especially women and children in 20 target villages. CANTEEN is co-funded through MCNV, the European Union, Netherlands Organizations for Scientific Research (WOTRO), and the foundation in the Netherlands (AFAS). At the end of the annual meeting, the participants and the Chairman shared strategies that will ensure CANTEEN continues in the right direction to achieve its goals.

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Dong Xuan District and MCNV: 10 years of fruitful cooperation

On the 28th of December 2018, a review workshop on the Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) project in the 2017-2018 period took place in Dong Xuan district of Phu Yen province. The event was also an occasion to celebrate 10 years of cooperation between Dong Xuan district and MCNV (2008-2018). Attending this event were representatives of MCNV, the People’s Committee, Health Center, Department of Education & Training, and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Dong Xuan district, as well as the people’s committees of 6 communes involved in the project.

At the workshop, MCNV and the local partners looked back on the progress of the NSA project, drew lessons learned and planned for the next phase of the project (2019-2020).

MCNV team receiving certificates of merit at the workshop

Also at the workshop, in recognition of the MCNV’s contributions to the development work in Dong Xuan for the past 10 years, the People’s Committee of Dong Xuan District awarded a certificate of merit from Phu Yen Provincial People’s Committee to MCNV Office in Central Vietnam and certificates of merit from Dong Xuan District People’s Committee to individual staff of MCNV Office in Central Vietnam, including Mr. Nguyen Dinh Dai (Chief of Office), Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan (Program Coordinator) and Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan Phuong (Financial Manager).

In the period of 2008-2016, MCNV cooperated with the local partners to have many interventions in Dong Xuan district, especially on malnutrition prevention for children under 5 years old. For the period of 2017-2020, through the NSA project MCNV continues to intervene and research to identify the experiences, knowledge and practicality of nutritionally sensitive interventions, so as to propose appropriate solutions to the upscaling of the NSA approach in remote ethnic minority communities in Phu Yen province, thereby contributing to improving food security and reducing the rate of malnourished children under 5.

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A good start for toddlers in Phu Mo

Both food and mental health care needed in Central Vietnam

Last year we have asked you to support the people in Quang Tri province. Your reactions have been generous and you’ve made it possible to continue supporting these people. This winter we would like to introduce two new projects: increasing food security in the poorest villages and support for students with mental health problems. Local authorities have agreed to partly financing these projects but we can only start once a contribution from MCNV has been secured. With your support we can keep on supporting the people of Quang Tri in 2019!

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50 years MCNV: untold stories

Another article about MCNV on the occasion of the 50th anniversary is posted on the Vietnam Times of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations. Information and stories about MCNV’s former advisor Ron Marchand and loyal donor Suus van Hekken are lively shared in this article. Here is the link to the article for your reading: http://vietnamfriendship.vn/Medical-Committee-NetherlandsVietnam-and-the-untold-50-year-touching-stories-part-2-01-24551.html?utm_source=zalo&utm_medium=zalo&utm_campaign=zalo&zarsrc=30

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School based mental health care: MCNV’s pilot model in Quang Tri

MCNV Vietnam Country Director Pham Dung gave remarks at the workshop

On December 21st 2018, an evaluation workshop on the School-based Mental Health Care Project took place at Huu Nghi Hotel in Dong Ha City, Quang Tri Province. Representatives of MCNV, Provincial Department of Education and Training, Provincial Health Service, Preventive Health Center and nearly 30 high schools in the province attended the workshop. At the workshop, MCNV and the stakeholders reviewed the current situation of mental health (MH) among high school students, the interventions that MCNV and local partners have implemented in the project, remarkable results and proposed directions in the coming time.

The School-based Mental Health Care project has been piloted at Vinh Linh High School since May 5th 2017 with the aim of reducing the rate of students having, and being at risk of having, MH problems, building capacity in MH care for teachers, and improving knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of students and parents in MH care. Before the project started, MCNV conducted a survey on the MH situation of high school students in Quang Tri province. The survey results showed that up to 11.8% of high school students had MH problems and 20.86% were at risk of having MH problems.

For 18 months of implementing the project, MCNV has collaborated with the Department of Education and Training of Quang Tri Province and Vinh Linh High School to implement various activities, including establishing a MH care counseling team at the school, training to improve knowledge and skills in MH for the counseling team, sharing these knowledge and skills with other teachers in the school, using the SDQ25 tool (of the World Health Organization) to survey and monitor the students’ MH status, counseling for students having MH problems, organizing MH communication activities, and promoting information sharing and interactions about students’ MH issues via Facebook. In the implementation process, some activities were technically assisted by Da Nang Psychiatric Hospital.

The activities mentioned above have contributed to helping the teachers of Vinh Linh High School and the counseling team have basic knowledge and skills in detecting and intervening with students having MH problems, and at the same time changing the perception, attitudes and behaviors of teachers, students and parents about MH care. The comparison of the survey results at the beginning and at the end of the project has showed that the percentage of students with MH problems has decreased to 4.97% (compared to 9.32% before intervention) and the percentage of students at risk of having MH problems has decreased to 12.88% (compared with 17.74% before intervention).

With the positive results of this pilot project, the Department of Education and Training of Quang Tri Province and the high schools have proposed MCNV to replicate the project model to other high schools in the province. MCNV will try to mobilize funding in the coming time to meet this expectation.

To understand more about the School-based MH Care Project, you can refer to the materials for teachers and students at the Publications of this website and watch the following video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDek9rLsw4c&t=53s

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Short documentary on CANTEEN project

This summer, Dutch journalist Frans Glissenaar travelled to Nong district in Lao PDR to make a documentary on our CANTEEN project. The result of his journey is a so-called IPhone documentary, shot completely with his IPhone.

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Magazine 2018-4

2018-4
Magazine in Dutch

 

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MCNV celebrates 50 Years in Amsterdam

Some 175 guests attended the 50th anniversary of MCNV in Amsterdam. Donors from the very first days of MCNV, Mr. Pham Toan Thang and Mr. Nguyen Hai Tinh from the Embassy of Vietnam, staff from Vietnam, Lao PDR and Amsterdam, Supervisory Board members, ex-staff, ex-board members, Ms Mette Gonggrijp from the Dutch Ministery of Foreign Affairs, project partners and friends joined in the celebration in Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam.

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MCNV’s 50th Anniversary in Hanoi

This video shows the celebration of 50th anniversary on November 16th, 2018. The event took place at the International Convention Center in Hanoi with the participation of about 150 guests representatives of ministries, sectors, diplomatic agencies, press, and international and local organisations. On this occasion MCNV honorably received the fourth Order of Friendship from the President of Vietnam. Please follow this link to watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5VTziaGf0w

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