Protection, Promotion and Support of Healthy Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding
The Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) Approach
This approach looks at how to integrate Essential Nutrition Actions at critical stages in the life cycle of women and children within commonly available facility and community contact points. The aim of this approach is to improve the quality of nutrition services and to promote positive changes in family-based feeding and caring behaviours.
Essential Nutrition Actions include:
Review the 2011 updated version of
Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) Framework
The Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) framework an operational framework for managing the advocacy, planning and delivery of an integrated package of preventive nutrition actions encompassing infant and young child feeding (IYCF), micronutrients and women's nutrition. Using multiple contact points, it targets health services and behavior change communication support (BCC) to women and young children during the first 1,000 days of life - from conception through the first two years of life - when nutrient requirements are increased, the risks of undernutrition are great, and the consequences of deficiencies most likely to be irreversible. All these actions have been proven to improve nutritional status and reduce mortality.
The training component for the implementation of the ENA framework at both the health facility and community levels include 3 guides as follows:
1. The Booklet of Key ENA Messages (Word Version) / French (Word) illustrates the key ENA messages and can be used by those implementing and supporting health, nutrition, and food security programs for improving nutrition practices among pregnant and lactating mothers and children under two.
2. ENA Health Worker Training Guide (Word Version) / French (Word) equips health service providers with the technical, action-oriented nutrition knowledge and counseling skills needed to support pregnant women, mothers with children under two years of age, and other key family members to adopt optimal nutrition practices.
2b. ENA Health Worker Handouts (Word Version) / French (Word)
3. ENA Community Volunteers Training Guide (Word Version) / French (Word) equips semi-literate or illiterate Community Volunteers with the basic action-oriented nutrition knowledge and counseling skills needed to support pregnant women, mothers with children under two years and other key family members to adopt optimal nutrition practices
Standard messages and doable actions for improved nutrition are promoted with care givers, households and communities at six contact points within the health delivery system:
- Antenatal care.
- Delivery and immediate post partum care.
- Postnatal care.
- Immunizations/growth monitoring and promotion.
- Child clinic / IMCI when the child is sick.
- Family planning.
Other contact points can be:
- Feeding centres for malnourished children (in-patient and/or out-patient)
- Food distribution points.
NOTE: At community level, the ENA approach is practical and easy enough to expand coverage of standard nutrition messages and actions beyond the health sector.
The ENA approach can help:
- Decision makers and program managers to review on-going nutrition strategies to identify gaps and opportunities for increased effectiveness, efficiency and impact.
- Facility-based service providers to review quality of on-going nutrition services and provide adequate and updated nutrition information at key health contact points.
- Community-based service providers to promote adequate messages and behaviours at crucial stages in the life cycle of children and women using available contact points.
The ENA approach focuses on two areas:
- Service Quality Improvement (SQI)
- behavioural Change Communication (BCC)
Service Quality Self Assessment Tool
The tool lists recommended nutrition services and quality issues in line with updated standards and asks the service providers to assess their service against them.
It can provide an interesting feedback on the actual gap between the policy and the reality on the ground. The identity of the user will stay anonymous.
View The Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) Key Messages
Key behaviours for optimal breastfeeding, complementary feeding and maternal nutrition at critical stages in the life cycle of women and children 12 pages 95kb
Source: ENA Counselor's guide – Linkages Project
6 March, 2016