Egypt: Ministry of Social Solidarity and WFP Train Community Health Workers Supporting the USAID-Funded 'First 1,000 Days' Programme

Cairo — In support of Egypt's Ministry of Social Solidarity (MOSS) and in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) launched today a three-day training to develop counselling and monitoring capacity of MOSS's community workers.

Through the training, community health workers are working under the national 'First 1,000 Days' programme on increasing the nutrition and health knowledge of pregnant and nursing mothers of children under 2 who are supported by the programme.

The 1000 days is the period from the conception of the child and until they turn two years of age and is considered the most critical period in the child's development to ensure a healthy future; Failing to provide proper nutrition during this period can result in chronic malnutrition/stunting which has irreversible consequences on the health, educational attainment of children and their productivity as adults.

As part of the national digital innovation plan, community workers will also be trained on using tablets and digital technology tools to deliver health and nutrition counselling and to help engage family members and communities at large to improve nutritional practices. The National Nutrition Institute in Egypt, a key partner in the project, is conducting this training and will be delivering trainings for more than 3000 community health workers over the next 3 months.

Tools provided through this training will enable community workers to monitor the frequency of antenatal and child monitoring clinic visits by targeted mothers and families - this is one of the important objectives of the programme, to ensure children are receiving adequate care and follow-up during this critical time in their lives.

The "First 1,000 Days" programme also provides financial assistance under the ministry's 'Takaful and Karama' programme for more than 40,000 mothers registered and their children under 2 years to prevent malnutrition and help families fulfil the nutritional needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The training is very timely as we expand collaborations with Egypt's Government, donors and partners to empower and protect the wellbeing and nutrition of key members of our community; that is mothers and children" said Menghestab Haile, WFP Representative and Country Director in Egypt. "With the valued contributions of donors like USAID we are pleased to build upon our support to our long-standing Government partner, the Ministry of Social Solidarity, to secure the wellbeing and food security of those most affected by the pandemic and new generations to come,"

USAID recently contributed US$5 million to WFP to reach vulnerable mothers in 6 targeted governorates who were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and their children under 2 with food assistance and economic support.

"USAID is proud of our strong partnership with the Ministry of Social Solidarity, the World Food Programme, and all of the dedicated community workers to support Egypt's most vulnerable women and children during the COVID-19 pandemic," said USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed.

WFP is the sole UN agency in Egypt providing food security for the most vulnerable populations and continues to count on the contributions of donors to sustain and upscale assistance to the most vulnerable populations in Egypt throughout its COVID-19 response and recovery phases.

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