Apr 19, 2010, 1:34 PM
Nutrition Unit under the Directorate of Health Promotion and Health (MOH) with
support from UNICEF has organised two days sensitisation on Basic Nutrition
Education and Mother MUAC concept for 300 women in Central River Region north.
The event conducted over the weekend was simultaneously held at various health facilities in Buduck, Jarumeh Koto, Njau, Sami Karantaba Tenda, Dingerai and Ballangarr villages.
Fatou Darboe, a senior programme officer at the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education said the forum on basic nutrition education forms part of the Mother Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) project pioneered by the Nutrition Unit under Directorate of Health Promotion and Education with funding from UNICEF.
She explained that Mother MUAC is a new concept in The Gambia where mothers are trained to screen for acute malnutrition in their children and other children under five by measuring MUAC and testing for oedema
She further explained that the Mother MUAC project is geared towards averting malnutrition related morbidity and mortality in children under five and that the project is currently being piloted in the Central River Region north hence the need for the sensitisation.
Senior Programme Officer Darboe emphasised that after the training participants are expected to be active in screening of childern under five at their various localities, adding that they are also expected to report to the Community Health Nurse covering their communities for further action.
“This event will not only include basic nutrition education, hygiene and sanitation; participants will also be trained on how to conduct malnutrition surveillance with the use of MUAC tape within their localities,” she said.
“A total of 15000 mothers are expected to benefit from nutrition IYCF counselling and 8000 children under five are expected to be screened every month,” she declared.
She maintained that some of the project’s objectives are to prevent malnutrition in children by increasing the awareness level of the mothers.
Senior Programme Officer Darboe further declared that involving mothers in nutrition screening activities will put mothers at best position to identify early signs of malnutrition and reinforce their role in protecting and promoting their children’s health.
Lamin Jaiteh, a community health nurse at Jarumeh Kotu Health Facility, encouraged participants to take the training seriously and urged them to put into practice the knowledge and skills gained from the training for their own health and that of their children in particular.
“Let me explain that exclusive breastfeeding, personal hygiene and early booking among others are good for the mother and the child,” he said.
Ebou Keita, also a Community Health Nurse at Sami Karantaba Health Facility thanked the Directorate of Health Promotion and UNICEF for funding the sensitisation on the MAUR Concept in their health facility.
He also hailed them for facilitating a day orientation for community health nurses in CRR north on the Mother MUAC Concept and added that it was after that orientation that they too are now conducting a step down training for mothers who will conduct further step down trainings of selected mothers.
Fatou Secka, a participant, commended the Health Directorate and UNICEF for coming down to their level by helping and educating them on Nutrition Education and the Mother MUAC Concepts.
She assured that the knowledge and lessons learned from the training will be put into good use.She added that the knowledge gained from the forum will also be shared with those at home particually the women folk.