Anemia and Malnutrition Rates Drop

02-Anemia and Malnutrition Rates Drop 2

Tahoe’s Peruvian subsidiary, La Arena, has implemented the successful Healthy Family Home program in 14 local northern Peruvian villages in the past three years. The Healthy Family Home program, sponsored by Peru’s Ministry of Health, teaches families how to improve health and nutrition by establishing a more sanitary home environment and eating healthy foods. The program has helped decrease chronic malnutrition by 10 percent and nutritional anemia by 11 percent since the program’s inception.

Participating families are either expecting children, have children three years old or younger, are vulnerable to poverty or have high health risks. Participants have the desire to change their everyday habits in order to be healthier, and La Arena provides that knowledge and training. “Here at La Arena, we are pleased to implement a program that improves the capacity of our local families. We work to strengthen families’ living conditions because we believe a healthy household is a key component to human development and influences physical, mental and social health,” said Percy Capuñay, La Arena’s Community Relations Manager.

The first step for family participants is to invite La Arena and the local health ministry to jointly evaluate the family’s health and living conditions so that they can create an action plan designed to respond to each family’s unique issues. Next, the family strengthens its knowledge and practices about health through at-home trainings. Families learn best practices for nutrition, healthcare and personal hygiene. For example, La Arena works with mothers to promote child development by teaching the importance of breastfeeding, drinking purified water and receiving adequate nutrients through home vegetable gardens. La Arena also helps families build outdoor vegetable gardens and provides the seeds to grow radishes, lettuce, onions, chard, spinach and carrots.

Families also learn how to maintain a healthy home environment, including the importance of adequately disposing of trash, properly storing food, washing hands at appropriate times, separating bedroom and kitchen spaces, designating sanitation areas, removing animals from inside the home and creating livestock fences. To help families incorporate these practices in their daily routines, La Arena provides families with charts for tracking progress, action items, due dates and family member responsibilities for completing the task. This way, families positively redistribute household roles and responsibilities. To ensure progress, La Arena and the local health ministry provide monthly home visits to answer questions and provide encouragement and additional guidance.

In 2015, the local health ministry accredited 44 percent of families as having a healthy home. “We will continue to monitor families’ progress to increase healthy home accreditation,” said Capuñay. “Participating families have also become role models in their villages and have inspired other families to become involved in the program.”