By Tabora Bojang
The executive director of National Nutrition Agency Modou Cheyassin Phall has disclosed that the Results-Based Financing in maternal and child nutrition is witnessing a significant reduction in the rate of infant mortality and acute malnutrition in children especially in the provinces.
Maternal and child nutrition and health results project is World Bank funded jointly undertaken by the National Nutrition Agency (NANA), the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and the department of community development.
Phall who was speaking in an interview with The Standard said the overall objective of the project is to increase the utilisation of community nutrition and primary maternal and child health services in selected regions using a combination of supply and demand sides of the a RBF approach.
“Even though the results baseline is yet to be out, I am optimistic that this project is making difference on the lives of the people and also addressing loopholes in the health delivery system,” he noted.
Demographic health results surveys have indicated an acute rate of malnutrition especially in children under 5 years about 22.5% stunted, 16% underweight and 10% are acutely malnourished.
“There are a lot of improvement at the health facilities, and if we are able to sustain the gains that we have already made we will see a significant drop in maternal mortality, infant mortality and also child malnutrition”
He also dwelled on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, nutritional diversity and increasing of feeding frequencies in children which all envisaged in the project so as to address the issue of malnutrition which he said contributes to about 60% of mortality in infants.
Phall is among a 19-member delegation comprising permanent secretaries and technocrats that went to Zimbabwe last month on a 10-day knowledge visit on the RBF.
Zimbabwe is making a significant drop in maternal and infant mortality and related issues, according to their Health and child care Secretary Dr. Gerald Gwinji.
“Contextualizing that to our case we hope that if we are able to address certain indicators like antenatal care, postnatal care, women delivering in our health facilities with right guidance that will significantly cut the rate of mortality.”
The project according to him is currently working with 344 communities and 37 health facilities within the NBR, LRR, URR and CRR respectively.
The NANA executive director said their visit has given them a better understanding of how Zimbabwe’s RBF project has been incorporated as one of their health financing strategies.
At the end of the 5year project, it is expected the government of the Gambia will adopt and sustain the Result Based Financing.