The first 1000 days from conception to two years of age are critical to the health and development of a child. Adequate infant and young child nutrition (IYCN) is crucial for survival and long-term health and well-being. Approximately 45% of deaths of children under five years of age can be attributed to malnutrition , and are often associated with inappropriate feeding practices during the first years of life . The first two years of life provide a critical window of opportunity for ensuring children’s appropriate growth and development through optimal feeding. Many countries experience a sharp increase in the prevalence of malnutrition for this age group.
NI supports countries to implement their IYCN program in line with WHO/UNICEF recommended IYCF practices. This includes the timely initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding to the age of six months, introduction of solid, semi-solid and soft foods at 6 months of age and continued breastfeeding until 24 months of age, recommended minimum meal frequency and dietary diversity. NI also supports recommended practices such as responsive feeding, hand washing with clean water and soap, and safe food preparation and storage.
Some of NI’s support to IYCN programs includes a Micronutrient Powder (MNP) component.
The implementation of NI’s IYCN intervention in Tanzania builds on the ongoing government of Tanzania’s efforts to address nutrition as stipulated in the National Multisectoral Nutrition Action Plan (NMNAP), 2016- 2021. The IYCN component targets caregivers of children 0-23 months of age with counselling and other community-based activities that promote, protect and support exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices. NI’s IYCN intervention focuses on addressing the existing gaps in the quality of provision of services, program management including the use of data, and BCI and follows the 1000 days approach. In 2017, NI procured MNP sachets on behalf of the government and distributed them in 3 NI-supported districts in Mwanza through the health system.
These activities are being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC), within the MoH (Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre, Medical Stores Department and Tanzania Food and Drug Authority), President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, Local Government Authorities and AMREF Health Africa. These initiatives are being implemented sub-nationally in three districts in Mwanza Region (Nyamagana, Kwimba and Sengerema) and three districts in Simiyu region (Bariadi, Maswa and Meatu) NI support to IYCN in Tanzania began in 2016 and is ongoing.
 Black RE et al. Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet. 2013; 382(9890):427-451
 Sankar MJ, et al. Optimal breastfeeding practices and infant and child mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Paediatr. 2015 Dec;104(467):3-13
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