Health Facilities Assessment and Implementation of Facility Based Nutrition Services in Punjab
Naureen Naeem*, M Amjad Khan, Aqeela Ashraf, Shabbir Hussain, Syeda Mona Hassan and Fakhar Gulzar
Government of the Punjab provide nutrition services through primary, secondary and tertiary health care facilities across Punjab. But many gaps persist, that reduce the services delivery and timely management of cases, which results in high rate of nutrition maladies. For its appraisal, a rapid assessment of nutrition services centres was conducted, which gauged either these facilities are equipped with standard operating procedures, from identification, treatment and follow up of the patient to service delivery. A rapid assessment tool was developed to measure functionality of these service centres during October-November 2016. The data analysis for the Outpatient Therapeutic Centres (OTP) showed that out of the total number of health facilities samples 73 percent of the centres are fully functional, 24 percent were found to be semi-functional at the time of data collection, largely due to nonavailability of equipment and supplies, while 3 percent of the centres were found to be nonfunctional. Of the 20 Stabilization Centres (SCs) surveyed, one was found to be only semifunctional due to the newly recruited staff, not having received the relevant training details mentioned in the Punjab Nutrition Plan. The SC also did not have available provisions of therapeutic food required to cure malnourished children. The other 19 SCs were reported as fully functional, but it was found that there was weak coordination between some the SC and the Provincial Program Implementation Unit of the program, as they were not sharing their monthly report using the standard reporting format. In order to make nutrition services more functional and effective, proper planning, timely available of medicine, record keeping and follow up are essential components to maintain the integrity of the program.