Why Holt’s Child Nutrition Program is Important
Malnutrition affects nearly 250 million children worldwide and malnutrition and hunger-related diseases are the biggest killer of children under age 5 in the developing world.
The children Holt serves globally through our child nutrition program are among those most at risk for malnutrition and hunger-related diseases. These include orphaned or abandoned children, many of whom have significant disabilities.
Since 2013, Holt has expanded our work across China, Ethiopia, India, Mongolia, the Philippines, Uganda, Haiti and Vietnam to train caregivers in proper nutrition and feeding practices, and to teach our partner staff how to track children’s nutrition and growth in the first critical years of life.
“The children looked healthy, so we did not realize that many had iron deficiencies. The Holt Child Nutrition Program gave us the tools to understand. The children are healthier, so we have to give them medication less often. When there is less sickness, our jobs are easier.”Mr. Chui, Director of Childcare at a Site in China
How Holt’s Child Nutrition Program Works
The Holt International Child Nutrition Program is proving highly successful at reducing malnutrition among vulnerable children in childcare centers, at community sites and in foster care programs around the world. By bringing together NGOs, medical experts, front-line caregivers and local government representatives, Holt’s child nutrition program puts in place sound tools and practices that our partners and caregivers can use to implement, track and evaluate critical nutrition and feeding changes. The program focuses primarily on vulnerable children most at risk for nutrition-related illnesses, especially young children and those with disabilities. At the same time, the program works to standardize new practices across care centers, programs and communities so they become routine. In this way, all children in care will benefit from nutrition, health and growth standards initiatives.
Holt leads multiple-day, in-person training sessions with on-the-ground staff and caregivers at partnering programs and care centers overseas. Through these trainings, caregivers learn about key health and nutrition interventions to better serve the children and help them grow. From training in how to prevent and treat diarrhea or anemia to addressing wasting and stunting, trainees receive pivotal education that improves their practice of caregiving. Holt commits to equipping our partners with nutrition and feeding manuals, translated into their local language by Holt. We also furnish all necessary equipment to ensure our partners are prepared to accurately assess and monitor the health and nutrition of children, and provide any needed interventions to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Once trained, the first action of our partner staff is to assess the baseline nutrition and health of each child in their programs. Caregivers and staff collect information including height, weight, arm circumference, head circumference, illnesses, feeding development, diet and other key data. To track and monitor each child’s progress over time, routine nutrition screenings are completed. This data can then be used to better improve care practices as well as the health and nutritional interventions provided. By using standardized practices, this remarkable methodology can be replicated at sites around the world, effectively transforming the care of each child served.
Often, care centers lack the basic tools needed to accurately track a child’s growth and overall health. In addition, many countries have yet begun to implement electronic health record management systems. Holt not only provides the appropriate equipment to complete measurements, but also provides sites with an electronic health record system designed to be robust in application, yet simple to use.
When a child is determined to be at risk for malnutrition, trained staff provide nutrition interventions such as supplements to ensure the child receives adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. Some children simply need more nutrition-rich snacks, and care centers may need to introduce a more diverse array of meal options or adjust menus. Even minor changes like these are critical to meeting children’s individual nutritional needs.
Once caregivers are trained in proper nutrition and feeding methods, staff begin to regularly screen, monitor and track different aspects of children’s growth and development. Holt provides the standardized equipment, including a tool to test for anemia, and the electronic health record system to ensure children’s growth and health status are being properly recorded and analyzed over time.
Holt’s Feeding and Positioning Manual Offers Critical Guidelines
“Holt International’s Feeding and Positioning Manual: Guidelines for Working With Babies and Children” supports caregivers of infants and children by providing information on safe feeding practices. The manual also provides general information on infant and child development, critical milestones for caregivers to monitor, and helpful strategies that support and enrich the overall well-being of every child.
Support Holt’s Child Nutrition Program
Your gift to Holt’s child nutrition program will provide life-changing nutrition and feeding support to children living in poverty and in orphanages around the world.
Holt’s Child Nutrition Program (CNP) — in Action!
In India, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Uganda, Haiti and the Philippines, Holt’s teams work extensively with children, caregivers and staff — providing vital nutrition and feeding education.
“The child nutrition program met a great need. Weight and height changed dramatically after implementation, and children are so much happier and healthier.”Caregiver in India
“The nutritional needs of children living in orphanages are still huge in Vietnam. Holt Vietnam plans to step-by-step expand the given knowledge and skills to serve more children and to improve the quality of care for children in new orphanages or childcare centers in the country.”Hang Dam, Director of Programs in Vietnam, South Africa, Thailand and the Philippines
The Power of Nutrition
Child deaths from malnutrition are preventable — when children receive diverse, safe, nutritious foods, fed in the right way, in appropriate amounts and frequency throughout their growth and development.
Meet the children whose lives have been transformed through Holt’s child nutrition program.