Nutrition Education in Rural Sololá

Hospitalito Atitlán is implementing a new nutrition education program for residents of the department of Sololá, Guatemala (Pop. [2011]: 430,573) thanks to a grant from the Izumi Foundation.

The issue of malnutrition is far too prevalent throughout the department. During outreach visits, our health workers have personally seen evidence of the problem - identifying undernourished children, especially in rural communities.

A major element of the project will be the creation of illustrated nutrition booklets in three Maya languages, focusing on the importance of good nutrition during a child's first 1,000 days of life. Education about accessible, affordable and nutritious food will be presented in a culturally appropriate manner. The booklets will also include information on how to prevent and identify malnutrition and include nutritious recipes that promote healthy eating.

Nutricionist Kanami Tomina - from Ritto-shi, Shiga, Japan - will be instrumental in the program's elements and implementation. Kanami joined the staff in February 2017 for two-years as a volunteer from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The three-year initiative complements our currently existing health education program, led by Maya-speaking health promoters who will counsel mothers during home visits about the importance of good nutrition prior to conception, exclusively breastfeeding during the first six months of their babies' lives, choosing healthy first foods, and practicing good home hygiene to reduce often-fatal intestinal diseases.