Saturday, May 20, 2017

Malnutrition: UNICEF interventions helped reduce fatalities – Nutritionist

A mother breastfeeds her child suffering from acute malnutrition at a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Aweil, northern Bahr al-Ghazal, South Sudan

The nutritionist said some of the UNICEF’s interventions include provision of micronutrient power to boost nutrition deficiencies of malnourished children.

A nutritionist, Mrs Bitrus Nacha of Nassarawa Primary Health Care Centre (PHC) in Yola, has lauded UNICEF for its efforts at reducing the malnutrition burden in Adamawa.

Nacha, who is the Nutrition Focal Person at the Outpatients Therapeutic Centre (OTP), gave the commendation when UNICEF and its media team visited the PHC on Friday in Yola.

“The malnutrition rate and number of death caused by the condition prior to UNICEF’s intervention used to be very disturbing, however now there is a drastic reduction of the burden.

“Specifically, from January till date there has been only one death recorded, while five have defaulted in accessing treatment due to migration, among other reasons,’’ she said.

Some of the UNICEF’s interventions, the nutritionist noted, include provision of micronutrient power to boost nutrition deficiencies of malnourished children and provision of Ready-To-Use-Therapeutic Food (RUTF).

Aside from these, she added that the UNICEF provided de-worming tablets at the various OTP centres in the state.

Nacha said that remarkable progress had been made with regard to restoring the lives of a large number of severely malnourished children.

“Five OTP centres were established in 2014 in this local government area and a lot of parents have been consistent in the weekly medical treatment of their children.

“We meet with our patients once in a week.

“At first visit, we screen the child to ascertain the actual health status and if such a child has medical complications we refer him or her to a specialist or the general hospital.

“However, if her illness is malnutrition we administer RUTF which span through eight weeks according to the weight of the child.

“We administer Amoxicillin and give de-worming syrup at the second visit.

“RUTF is a miraculous medication after it has been administered on a malnourished child, within two weeks positive changes will be observed,’’ she said.

Some mothers, who visited the site to access medication for their malnourished children, also commended UNICEF for ameliorating their plight.

Mrs Rukayat Abdullahi, the mother of 14-month-old Aisha, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that two weeks ago, before the commencement of RUTF medication, the baby was very weak.

“Aisha could neither seat nor crawl but now the baby can do all of those activities with ease,’’ she said.

Mrs Aisha Yahuze, the mother of 18-month-old Umaru, confessed that she thought the child would die due to the severity of his illness, but after three weeks treatment he regained his health.



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