THE Save the Children's Fund is targeting 22 Early Childhood Education (ECE) centres as it works to bring down the number of malnutrition deaths.
Eighty cases of malnutrition were recorded at divisional hospitals so far this year with 10 per cent of cases resulting in the death of a child.
And last year a massive 250 cases of malnutrition were recorded with 25 deaths.
The fund is working with the Ministry of Health and will use its community child nutrition project to educate parents and children on proper nutrition and to also provide ideas on healthy and cheap sources of nutrition for children.
"The community child nutrition project is targeted at the ECE centres already established in the Central and Northern divisions," Save the Children's Fund health manager Ashwini Lata said.
"There are 52 ECE centres but the community child nutrition project will target 22 of these centres, 14 in the Central Division and eight in the North.
Ms Lata said the program was targeting children below the age of five.
"This is the age group where malnutrition is most prevalent.
"Right now vaccination ends at the age of one year six months after that parents don't feel they should be visiting health centres.
"And this is where the children are left out of the picture in terms of what is happening with their nutritional status and what is happening with their diet."
She said a large part of the problem was that people were more reliant on cheap food which did not have much nutritional value when there were healthy local alternatives.
Ms Lata explained the fund would provide health programs like nutrition awareness to the children, parents, ECE teachers and the community.
"So different aspects will be taught, children will have basic education and parents will have different levels of it and then we are targeting the garden as well so we will try to get them to do some gardening."