Integrated Nutrition Programme | Western Cape Government

Integrated Nutrition Programme

The Integrated Nutrition Programme (INP) aims to improve the nutritional status of all people living in the Western Cape province. There are numerous aspects to this programme.


Malnutrition is a serious problem in South Africa and is one of the biggest contributors to childhood illness and death. It is estimated that about 30% of South African children are stunted from a lack of adequate nutrition in the early years of their lives.

Causes of Malnutrition:

  • Inadequate food intake
  • illness
  • psychosocial stress/trauma are the most significant immediate causes of malnutrition.
Factors that Contribute to Malnutrition:
  • Poverty and lack of resources are basic factors that contribute to malnutrition.
  • Insufficient feedings and/or inappropriate feeding practices in the orphanage, particularly for those children with special needs.
The INP tries to deal with this silent epidemic in a number of ways.


  • At primary health care level children who are examined and identified as undernourished (this includes children and adults who are HIV positive and with tuberculosis) will be given food supplements including fortified maize meal and a high-energy drink.
  • Supplements are given to identified clients according to criteria.
  • Health workers also provide counselling, information and education about healthy diets and the healthiest ways of preparing food.
  • Dieticians also provide specialised services to the community.


  • To help fight malnourishment in early childhood health workers encourage women to breastfeed their children exclusively until six months of age and thereafter to continue breastfeeding in addition to the introduction of appropriate complementary foods, until the child is two years old.
  • Other feeding options are discussed with mothers who are HIV positive.
  • Vredendal Hospital and Groote Schuur Maternity Centre are Baby Friendly Hospitals in the province according to the Baby friendly Hospital Initiative.


  • All children are weighed regularly as part of the growth monitoring programme, a sensitive indicator of whether the child is growing.
  • The weight is entered onto the Road to Health Card.
  • Underlying causes for weight loss are looked into such as infectious diseases, shortage of food at home and child neglect.
  • Infectious diseases play a great part in undernourishment and these illnesses are treated at primary health care level.
  • Diarrhoeal disease is closely related to poor environmental hygiene (sanitation and water supply) and under- or poor nutrition of an infant, which in turn makes him/her more vulnerable to serious and prolonged diarrhoea.


  • Poverty stricken households are identified and referred to one of the government's poverty alleviation programmes.
  • Household food security is addressed intersectorally and appropriate interventions and support are provided.


  • Controlling micronutrient deficiencies is an essential part of the service. Micronutrients are natural substances such as vitamins and minerals, which are found in small amounts in food and are very important in maintaining good health.

  • The INP provides Vitamin A supplementation to targeted children. Children who lack Vitamin A lose weight, fail to grow properly and are more likely to get infections and to die from them. A lack of Vitamin A also damages the eye and is one of the main causes of blindness amongst children.

  • Children with low birth weights are given Vitamin A capsules, which boost the immune system and help with the child's developmental growth. Infants from 6 -11months are given a single dose of Vitamin A (100 000 IU) to prevent severe illness. Children from 12 months to five years old are given a single dose of 200 000 IU at 12 months then a dose of 200 000 IU every six months until five years of age.

  • Additional doses of Vitamin A are given to children who are severely malnourished, or who have persistent infectious diseases such as diarrhoea, measles or HIV infection.


  • Weight loss in children can also be due to worm infestation and this can be treated at the clinic with de-worming medication.


Nutritional education, information and counselling is given at all levels of care to people who have had:

  • Strokes
  • Who have Hypertension
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS and
  • Tuberculosis.


The Primary School Nutrition Programme is available at specifically identified sub-economic schools. These schemes are currently run jointly with the Department of Education. The provincial government aims to reach 125, 000 children at 847 primary schools in the province by 2004 with its school-feeding programme.


The INP also contributes to the institutional care of clients through food service systems for the provision of balanced nutrition.

If you are a first time visitor to a health facility, you will be asked to
  • Fill out a form and a folder will be opened.
  • Your identity document (ID).
  • A referral letter from the clinic will be required when visiting a hospital.
  • Hospitals will ask for your most recent payslip/income assessment (IRP5).
  • Any medication you are taking.
  • Clinic or hospital card if previously registered at the facility.
Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 5 September 2013