Expand the Basic Nutrition Program in Guyana

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The Basic Nutrition Program (BNP) in Guyana has been internationally recognized for its success in reducing child malnutrition with targeted interventions in several of the countries rural, underserved interior regions (regions 1, 7, 8 and 9). Interventions include nutrient supplementation, breastfeeding education and food coupons, etc. However, not all of the regions have benefited from this program. Regions 6 and 10 where residents, particularly the Amerindian community, makes up the majority, disproportionately suffer from malnutrition.

The BNP program has been expanded twice since its inception in 2002 with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); however, these expansions have not included additional regions, but capacity building in current locations.

With demonstrated success in other regions that includes 12% increase in breastfeeding, 30% reduction in wasting and 21% reduction in stunting, expansion of the program is the next logical step. Malnutrition can lead to reduced growth, increase risk of infection, and death. Children in rural, underserved areas, particularly in the Amerindian community, should not have to suffer because of lack of education and access to resources.

Therefore the Guyana government in conjunction with in IDB should consider expanding the Basic Nutrition Program to the interior regions 6 and 10, where the isolated and underserved community can benefit from the “community-based child health interventions” already taking place in other regions. Every child should have adequate nutrition.

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4 Responses to “Expand the Basic Nutrition Program in Guyana”

  1. kkline5 Says:

    This is a concise, compelling argument for expanding the nutrition program. The video is particularly effective. Do you have a sense of why the interior of the country has been excluded from the program until now?

    • sseopaul Says:

      It’s not that the interior regions have been left out necessarily. I believe they wanted to start with the least populated interior regions that have the most reduced access to healthcare/interventions, and that is why they picked those initial 4 regions. However, after demonstrated success in those interior regions, it seems logical to expand to the ones that currently do not have the program, which would be regions 6 and 10, which are most densely populated and may have some access to healthcare and some nutritional interventions, but there are still many isolated people, particularly indigenous people who could benefit from the intervention.

  2. carabarnes Says:

    I wonder if the Basic Nutrition Program has done assessments and evaluations to determine which interventions (promotion of breastfeeding, supplementation, etc) have had the most impact and success. It seems to me that if the government has a proven track record of success but only a limited budget to expand the program they would want to put their resources towards the highest impact intervention. Do you have a sense of if evidence has been gathered to drive programatic changes and expansions in the future?

  3. msdazzel Says:

    Great topic. I spent the summer (2013) working in Guyana on specific health projects, but was able to visit different regions and really see these regions vary (in ethnicity and culture). I agree with this argument that expansion is necessary. The fact that the BNP is an adequate program and has produced good outcomes makes me wonder why they have not used the “working” model in other regions. The regions within the country will drastically differ in behaviors, if efforts continue to be poured into areas that are already being catered too. I think the BNP needs to re evaluate its scope of work, so that the country can advance as a whole. I wonder if child nutrition is worsening in regions that do not have the program?

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