The programme has two phases: ‘Build-back’ where nutrition services will be restored to their pre-COVID-19 capacity, and ‘Build-up’ where the health system will be strengthened to deliver improved maternal nutrition services, alongside the roll-out of a community-focused model of care for low birth weight (LBW) infants. In the ‘Build-back’ phase the programme will cover 12 districts and 1 city corporation, and in ‘Build-up’ the programme will focus more intensively on 4 districts and 1 city corporation.
The programme will close the gaps in the provision of nutrition services to prevent maternal malnutrition and low birth weight, whilst ensuring care for LBW infants, through three interlinked outputs:
- A stronger enabling environment
Across both ‘Build-back’ and ‘Build-up’ phases, this output area focuses on strengthening and operationalising national guidelines on maternal nutrition services and community-based care of LBW infants. This includes technical assistance to enhance the Government of Bangladesh’s ‘National Maternal Nutrition Guidelines’ through adding complementary areas, providing support for planning, and advocating to increase budgets. This comes alongside support to strengthen the regulatory frameworks for working women and mothers as well as a focus on improving coordination between various Government Ministries at both a local and national level.
- Strengthened health system capacity to improve the coverage and quality of nutrition services
This programme will ensure an adequate, timely and uninterrupted supply of nutrition commodities by working with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to strengthen the procurement of supplies, as well as supporting improved supply chain management. This will be complemented by a focus on strengthening the capacity of the health workforce to provide quality maternal nutrition services, as well as record birthweight – a crucial activity for LBW prevention. This planned capacity strengthening involves a significant focus on enhancing service delivery in urban areas, including expansion in the health and nutrition services available to women in the Ready-made garment sector through the existing ‘Mothers @ Work’ platform. Facilitating quality data availability and use at national and subnational levels is crucial to ensure these improvements in system capacity are sustained, and this output area will also strengthen the routine management of information systems and use of data in decision making.
- An innovative and comprehensive community model
The programme’s third and final output area focuses on the design of an innovative and community-centric model to improve the access to, and use of, maternal nutrition services and care for LBW infants. This will be achieved through a community-based delivery of a ‘Maternal Nutrition Minimum Standard Community Outreach Package’ by 3,600 trained volunteers covering 600 community clinics. The programme will also establish a strengthened model of referral and measurement of LBW infants, including exploration of innovative approaches to encourage the weighing and referral of LBW infants within 24 hours of birth.