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The Potential for Integrating Community-Based Nutrition and Postpartum Family Planning: Review of Evidence and Experience in Low-Income Settings

  • Helle M. Alvesson
  • Menno Mulder-Sibanda
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    The objective of this review was to study where community-based family planning and nutrition programs have been integrated, how this has been accomplished, and what the results have been. Although family planning is a nontraditional intervention in community-based nutrition programs, it can have profound effects on maternal and child health and nutrition. When family planning does not occur, short intervals between pregnancies deplete mothers' reserves of nutrients needed for pregnancy and later for breastfeeding. As a result, short birth intervals are associated with higher maternal and neonatal mortality and malnutrition rates of infants. Family planning, which promotes contraceptive use and the lactational amenorrhea method, can thus improve nutrition outcomes in both mothers and babies. The authors identified a few studies on integrated services in the published literature; thus the main part of the review is built on operational research studies and unpublished smaller scale intervention studies. However, the controlled studies that were identified indicate positive correlation between breastfeeding levels and increased contraception use. Additionally, although the design of the intervention studies did not make it possible to assess the degree to which integration had an impact, the studies did highlight factors that were key to a successful integration process. These are community engagement; multiple and frequent contact points between mothers, community volunteers, and health workers; involvement of husbands; moving implementation decisions closer to the users of the program; and assuring transparency, clarity, and simplicity in the transmission of development objectives to communities.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Discussion Paper Series with number 85743.

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    Length: pages 60 pages
    Date of creation: 01 Nov 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:hnpdps:85743
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    1. Leach, Melissa A. & Fairhead, James R. & Millimouno, Dominique & Diallo, Alpha Ahmadou, 2008. "New therapeutic landscapes in Africa: Parental categories and practices in seeking infant health in the Republic of Guinea," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 2157-2167, May.
    2. Anoshua Chaudhuri, 2008. "Revisiting the Impact of a Reproductive Health Intervention on Children’s Height-for-Age with Evidence from Rural Bangladesh," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 619-656.
    3. Amin, Ruhul & St. Pierre, Maurice & Ahmed, Ashraf & Haq, Runa, 2001. "Integration of an Essential Services Package (ESP) in Child and Reproductive Health and Family Planning with a Micro-credit Program for Poor Women: Experience from a Pilot Project in Rural Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(9), pages 1611-1621, September.
    4. Horton, S. & Ross, J., 2003. "The economics of iron deficiency," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 51-75, February.
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