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Working with community health workers to improve nutrition in rural KwaZulu-Natal

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  • Myra Taylor
  • Champaklal Jinabhai

Abstract

Addressing the health problems of disadvantaged communities requires innovative strategies in a situation of resource constraints. A community-based participatory intervention was undertaken in southern KwaZulu-Natal, using 18 local community health workers (CHWs). A baseline survey was conducted by each CHW, who visited five households to investigate factors affecting nutrition. After a training programme of monthly nutrition workshops, CHWs shared this information with local community members by visiting households and holding community meetings. After six months, a second questionnaire administered by CHWs investigated householder perceptions of the intervention. Data from the initial survey served as a basis for the content of the nutrition intervention by CHWs to improve health by influencing dietary practices. Factors affecting nutrition that were investigated included dietary practices, breastfeeding, sanitation, source of water and food gardens. CHWs learnt from this nutrition intervention and spread this information among their communities, suggesting a useful role for CHWs in implementing health-promoting initiatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Myra Taylor & Champaklal Jinabhai, 2001. "Working with community health workers to improve nutrition in rural KwaZulu-Natal," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 125-140.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:18:y:2001:i:2:p:125-140
    DOI: 10.1080/037/68350120041866
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