Health & Nutrition

Ending global extreme poverty requires us to focus on two of its root issues: health & nutrition. You can help us with both.

focusing on the most vulnerable

Our goal of ending extreme poverty can only be achieved by tackling poverty’s root causes — and top among them are poor public health and nutritional deficiencies. These have the most serious affect on those least able to cope, almost always young children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

Our approach to dealing with these challenges is very much a holistic one, and here’s how it works.

  • Support and strengthen local and national health systems
  • Focus on disease prevention and treatment
  • Take a holistic view of public health

A Local and National Approach to Health & Nutrition

Every country in which we work has some sort of public health system, but because we focus very much on fragile states, those systems are often weak and under-resourced. We partner with communities and local authorities to deliver practical and effective services and with national governments to find sustainable, long-term solutions to healthcare access and better nutrition.

A Concern mobile nutrition clinic in South Sudan

Monica Mawien with a young patient at a Concern mobile nutrition clinic in Aweil County, South Sudan Photo: Kieran McConville

Take Aweil County, in the north west of South Sudan, as an example. Far removed from central government and with many national resources tied up in conflict-affected areas, it’s at the end of the line when it comes to services. Our team there sat down with the local health administration to figure out what was needed most and how to best fill the gaps. We have installed trained health personnel in local health centers, provided much-needed medical supplies, built new clinics, fixed broken water points, and operate mobile nutrition teams to treat under-5 children at risk of starvation. Often it’s the difference between life and death.

We also regularly advocate for and with national governments to ensure that they are in the best position to tackle the problems particular to their own countries.

Disease Treatment and Prevention

Mothers and children shouldn’t have to die from illnesses that are entirely preventable. We focus not only on the treatment of malnutrition and disease, but also on preventing them from ever occurring in the first place. We believe an investment in health care (especially maternal and child health) is vital to prevent illness and disability. We also believe that a healthy population is a productive one; better able to move out of poverty and towards a prosperous future.

We train Community Health Volunteers to screen children in their locality for the most common illnesses — malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections — and equip them to provide either basic treatment or referral to a clinic.

Burundi Community Case Management

In Burundi, Concern’s Community Case Management program trains community health workers to screen children under age five in their towns or villages for malaria and either treat them for the illness at home or refer seriously ill children to nearby health facilities. Photo by Reka Sztopa/Concern Worldwide

Our focus on community health systems focuses on women, newborns, and young children (particularly during the critical first 1,000 days their lives) to both prevent and treat malnutrition.

Environmental health is an essential component of physical health, and our programs in water, sanitation, and hygiene include waste management, pollution control, and prevention of disease transmission.

Sierra Leone Clinic

Three-day-old Umaro Monsaray is held by nurses during his health check at the Magburaka PHC Primary Health Clinic in Tonkolili, Sierra Leone. Photo by Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

A Holistic View on Public Health

To focus on global health (and global security) is to focus on child health and security: We innovate holistic approaches to end chronic malnutrition, which can have long-term impact on a child’s cognitive and physical abilities. These outcomes might impair children for a lifetime, as well as effect generations to come.

Our work includes improving agricultural techniques, by teaching farmers how to grow nutritious, diverse, hardy crops. These crops also open up access to markets, thereby improving income for food in case of crop failures. What’s more, they help to rehabilitate and conserve arable land and other natural resources that are especially vulnerable to natural disasters.

We also educate people about better cooking and child feeding practices, and train community health workers and volunteers to improve the overall health of communities so that they can thrive and move out of poverty.

RAIN Harvest

A harvest from a small-scale farmer participating in Concern’s Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN) program, which helps people improve their health by training them to grow diverse and hardy crops that improve nutrition and food security for farmers and their families. Photo by Gareth Bentley

Key Areas of Global Health and Nutrition

Learn More about Our Work in Health and Nutrition