Abla Al Alfy

Citation

This profile was prepared when Abla Al Alfy was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
After realizing that doctors and nurses may not have the time, capacity, or sometimes knowledge to advise new mothers, Abla introduced licensed Child Nutritional Counselors to the Egyptian health system. Primarily from outside of the medical profession, they are changing the landscape of the healthcare system, dedicating themselves to serving new mothers in hospitals, primary care clinics, community centers, and in their homes. Child Nutritional Counselors focus on educating and changing the behavior of new mothers so that they adhere to proper and safe nutrition practices for their children in the first critical years of life.

Although Abla works with traditional doctors and nurses to ensure that they have the right information to pass on to mothers, the key to her work is engaging those closest to new infants and mothers—such as other mothers, midwives, family members, and community actors who are trusted and influential in decision-making.

Through seemingly simple provisions, the impact of systemizing and institutionalizing support services and resources for new Egyptian mothers cannot be underestimated. After completing training to attain certification, Nutritional Counselors provide real-time health and nutritional support to mothers during their child’s first two years of life. Abla is strategically targeting their work on the most at-risk population, which ensure maximum gains in nutrition rates in Egypt.

The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population has recently agreed to adopt and integrate this new certification process into the public healthcare system. In addition, the government has pledged to support Abla’s plan to create Child Nutrition Centers within public hospitals, primary health care (PHC) centers, and community centers.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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