A National Level Awareness Raising Campaign Promoting Mother and Child Wellness in the First Thousand Days and Beyond by HDF In collaboration with Planning Commission and SUN-CSA.
1. Introduction of the Campaign
Aligned with Vision 2025 (Pillar I & IV) of the Government of Pakistan and Sustainable Development Goal regarding Health (SDG # 3) “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, the broader goal of Umeed Say Aagay Campaign is as follows:
“To significantly improve the nutritional status of all women of childbearing age and ensure that no child is born underweight, suffer from stunting, wasting or any preventable causes of mortality especially malnutrition in the first 1000 days”.
The strategic intent behind “Umeed Say Aagay Campaign” is twofold. The most critical objective of the campaign is embedded in its “Call to Action” for saving lives. More than 177,000 children die every year in Pakistan before their fifth birthday because they or their mother are malnourished. How sad it is to realize that deaths of millions of mothers and children could have been avoided because most of them died of preventable causes primarily malnutrition. On the other hand, the economic consequences of malnutrition including lost laborers, healthcare expenses and lower productivity cost Pakistan US$7.6 billion, or 3 percent of GDP, every year . So, the onus of responsibility lies on each one of us. Through this campaign, HDF calls for an urgent action at both individual and collective levels to raise mass awareness about the alarming implications of malnutrition which in itself is one of the main causes and consequences of ominous cycle of multifaceted poverty that keeps its victims away from reaching their full potential and productivity.
Secondly, from more strategic perspective, HDF is rightly positioning itself to scale up successes of its proven and highly cost effective model of Mother and Child Wellness Program which has consistently reduced the IMR, CMR, and MMR to less than 50% of the countrywide rates fighting a number of preventable diseases in over 300 villages located across Pakistan. The campaign is not a standalone initiative or a one-off activity. HDF is looking at the issue of malnutrition holistically from the perspective of human development paradigm. As the crux of the most common definitions of Human Development is about “improving people’s choices and quality of life”, it is very crucial to identify, analyze and remove the obstacles that hinder processes of human growth, development (physical, cognitive/intellectual, social, economic) and overall wellbeing through the efforts and initiatives of people themselves starting even way earlier from the conception by a mother and prenatal period.
Through Umeed Say Aagay campaign, HDF is complementing the initiatives and ongoing efforts of the government and other partners (local to global) who are specifically focusing on promoting right nutrition in the First 1000 Days of mother and child to strengthen the foundation that lasts newborn’s entire lives. This is the most critical window that shapes their bodies and develop brains allowing them to do better in schools, take control of their lives and avail the choices and opportunities to have higher earnings and develop their own life trajectory.
Through a highly collaborative approach, HDF is partnering with relevant stakeholders to multiply efforts and maximize their impact. In this regard, Planning Commission of Pakistan and Nutrition International have joined hands with HDF to rollout the campaign. Being one of the core members of Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN-CSA), HDF will be extended support by over 200 member organization of this alliance located across Pakistan. Key messages and recently developed nutrition guidelines (in all local languages) by the Planning Commission will be capitalized upon as Information Education and Communcation (IEC) material for this campaign. To transform this campaign into a nationwide people-led movement, HDF will not only be capitalizing upon the existing social capital developed in its partner communities but also optimize the current and emerging partnerships, multi-stakeholder forums and networks. This collaborative venture holds a great promise to achieve campaign’s vision i.e. “No mother or child die due to any preventable causes of mortality especially malnutrition in the First 1000 Days”.
2. Objectives of the Campaign:
• To create mass awareness in Pakistan about the importance of required healthy nutrition for mother and child in the first 1000 days through youth led social movement.
• Capacity building of front line health workers on the concept of 1000 days incorporating Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) before, during and after childbirth as basic human right.
• To ensure early initiation and exclusive breast feeding for all children from birth to six months and breast feeding continued up to two years along with complimentary nutritional food to achieve optimal growth, cognitive development and health.
• Ensure that all mothers have access to information and availability of micronutrients and balanced nutritious food for them and their children to overcome malnutrition, low birth weight, wasting, stunting and related complications leading to mortality by 2030.
• To facilitate and strengthen cross-sector collaboration amongst wide range of critical stakeholders to bring an end to malnutrition in all its forms through desired changes in policies, systems and practices.
3. Target Population:
The target population is mainly women of child bearing ages (14-49), newborns and children up to 2 years of age.
4. Geographical Coverage:
The campaign will be implemented in all districts of Pakistan under Public Private and other diverse modes of Partnerships initiating the process from districts where HDF and partners are already working.
5. Partners and Collaborators (Existing and Prospective):
Planning Commission – Office of Chief Nutrition/SUN Focal Point
Nutrition International (NI)
Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN-CSA)
BAHIRA University, CUST, COMSATS
Relevant government line departments and ministries
Civil Society, Academia, Media, Youth Forums and Networks
Private Sector, Corporate Sector/CSR, Chamber of Commerce
UN Agencies and International Development Agencies/organizations
6. The Core Strategy of the Campaign:
HDF envisages three pronged strategy (3 critical pillars) for this campaign to engage and influence the partner communities, all critical stakeholders and actors to facilitate positive change in beliefs, behaviors, knowledge, skills, capacities, systems, policies and practices. The prime approach entails both bottom up and top down strategies.
Pillar – I: Change at Personal & Household level
Closest to Community through Social Mobilization/Social Capital Development
Objective: To positively Influence behavioral change through awareness raising about the significance of good nutrition in the first 1000 days of mother and child at the grassroots level (Focus on the availability of simple and context sensitive and user friendly information and household dynamics ensuring Respectful Maternity Care – RMC)
Pillar – II: Change at Communal/Social Level
The Intermediate or Meso level – leveraging change with organized groups – building mass through diverse partnerships & networking
Objective: To promote multi-sectoral collaboration and partnerships to give voice and gain critical mass to ignite and strengthen campaign as youth led movement (using both online and offline mediums of engagement capitalizing upon the power of youth, innovation and technology)
Pillar – III: Change at the Policy & Practice Levels
Influencing Change through Evidence based Advocacy
Objective: To facilitate implementation of national and sub national policies through evidence based advocacy and system strengthening. Optimization of technology enabled innovative and cost effective models and good practices for addressing malnutrition aiming at % increase and optimal spending of gender responsive health budgets with particular focus on nutrition.
7. Roles and Core Responsibilities of the Partners:
I. Planning Commission: Overall Direction, Ownership and Cross-Sectoral Collaboration
II. Nutrition International: Technical Facilitation, Networking and Outreach
III. Human Development Foundation: Strategic leadership & Campaign’s Implementation