How One Community Prevents Malnutrition by Monitoring the Growth of its Children.
Post by Douglas Steinberg, HKI’s Deputy Regional Director for West Africa.
In a recent visit to HKI’s work in Tsogal, Niger, replies to my queries about the harvest were not encouraging at all.
“Most families here have only harvested enough to feed their families for two months,” replied one farmer in the community. This year is shaping up to be much less bountiful than last year – but still better than the disastrous harvest of 2009. This is a time when young children are at risk of malnutrition.
Thousands of children require treatment for severe malnutrition.
A post by Issakha Diop, who is responding to the crisis in the Horn of Africa on behalf of Helen Keller International.
I am currently stationed in northeastern Kenya (260 miles northeast of Nairobi and 46 miles west of Somalia) at Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world. It was designed to provide temporary shelter for the 90,000 people fleeing from Somalia’s civil war in early 1990. As the war, drought, and insecurity continued in Somalia, the three camps in Dadaab – Ifo, Hagadera and Dagahaley – became home for over 450,000 people.
Today, 1,000 to 1,500 new people arrive each day because of the current drought and food crisis in East Africa.
Little Abdulay Sahal Mohamed from Somalia arrived with his family five days ago. His entire family – his parents and six other siblings – walked for 21 days before reaching a reception point at the Kenya/Somalia border to be transported to Dadaab by UNHCR.
This post was written by Issakha Diop, Helen Keller International’s West Africa coordinator for community-based management of acute malnutrition. In response to the crisis in East Africa, he has been seconded to UNICEF’s regional nutrition team.
The response to the crisis in the Horn of Africa has many dimensions. One of the responsibilities that my colleagues and I have is to ensure that the programs are implemented according to globally accepted standards.
Children in crisis, who have been deprived of adequate nutritious foods, are not only at risk of disease, but enter into a state of wasting as their bodies rapidly lose weight. Children who are severely wasted are 9 to 10 times more likely to die: they often lose their appetites, their bellies swell, and they are prone to a range of infections and micronutrient deficiencies. To help these children, we must screen them as soon as possible for malnutrition – and this screening must be done properly.
This is the second post by Jessica Blankenship, Ph.D., Helen Keller International’s Regional Micronutrient Advisor, as she chronicles HKI’s ongoing work in Kenya.
In the US, access to basic health care is seldom a concern in our daily lives. While equity of health care is under debate, there is no disagreement that children in the US do not often die from diarrhea, measles, malaria and pneumonia. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, these diseases cause 50% of under five child deaths or 4.5 deaths every minute of every day.
HKI helps implement a program providing daily food rations to those in need
This post was written by Jessica Blankenship, Ph.D., Helen Keller International’s Regional Micronutrient Advisor.
It is only a two-hour flight to Lodwar in the Turkana District of Kenya from Nairobi; however the differences between the two cities are striking. Lodwar is the capital of the arid district of Turkana, and the only reliable method to reach the town is by air as the roads leading from Nairobi have been battered by seasonal rains and years of neglect. Despite being the largest district in Kenya, Turkana is sparsely populated; bordered by the countries of Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia, it is mostly populated by pastoralists who graze their goats and camels on the sandy soil.
This post was written by Shawn Baker, HKI’s vice president and regional director for Africa.
Arriving in the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, it is hard to imagine the gravity of the food and nutrition crisis hitting the Horn of Africa region. Nairobi is a bustling commercial hub for all of East Africa and seems far removed from the horrific images from Somalia and other affected countries. But reading the newspapers and working with partners such as the Kenyan Ministry of Health, UNICEF, World Food Program and Save the Children – you are quickly caught up in the urgency of the response. Nairobi is home to many of the agencies responding to the crisis in Kenya, and most organizations that are working in Somalia also base their operations here.
Doug reflects on how HKI is preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition for the most vulnerable in West Africa.
Today, we drove the 150 miles from Fada N’Gourma to Ouagadougou – the last leg before flying out tomorrow morning. On arriving in Ouagadougou, Nicholas Kristof and the “Win-a-Trip” winners visited a center for supporting people living with HIV. Over the course of the past week, Shawn Baker and I have accompanied Nick through four countries – Mauritania, Senegal, Niger and Burkina Faso. We’ve been in numerous villages, and we’ve spoken in depth with many people – mostly women – about the challenges of their lives and the solutions to help improve their lot.
In pursuit of HKI’s mission to prevent blindness and reduce undernutrition, we focus on two major program areas in Africa – fighting malnutrition (particularly micronutrient deficiency), and controlling certain tropical diseases, such as trachoma and onchocerciasis. During this past week, we have seen some successful programs in each of these areas. During these days, I’ve been reflecting on HKI’s approach to reducing malnutrition.
Tags: Acute Malnutrition, Biofortification, Breastfeeding, Burkina Faso, Douglas Steinberg, Essential Nutrition Actions, Food Fortification, Gardens, Homestead Food Production, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Nicholas Kristof, Niger, Onchocerciasis, Sweetpotatoes, Trachoma, Vitamin A
Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition
Shawn Baker visits two villages in Niger where exclusive breastfeeding has become the norm
The next chapter in Shawn Baker’s travels with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof. Kristof’s column on June 22nd, The Breast Milk Cure, also discusses the merits of exclusive breastfeeding.
We spent the night in the Magama Hotel in Dogon Doutchi. The last time I stayed here was in August 2010 and its services are as rudimentary as I remember. It is a magical time in the Sahel as the start of the rainy season transforms the countryside. It rained last night and we were kept company throughout the evening by a chorus of breeding toads taking advantage of the fresh puddles. The omelets and bread across the street were a welcome start to the day, and almost made up for a less than comfortable night’s sleep.
Shawn Baker reports from a nutrition rehabilitation clinic in Niger that treats children with acute malnutrition.
Another installment in Shawn Baker’s continuing adventures traveling with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof.
We all met up early at the airport in Dakar to take the flight to Niamey, the capital of Niger. The pilot announced that the ground temperature was 38 degrees Celsius (that’s 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit!) – indicating we had left the relatively cool temperatures of Nouakchott and Dakar behind. Our team in Niamey, led by HKI’s Country Director in Niger, Marily Knieriemen, met us at the airport and we had a late lunch at Marily’s house before heading off to Dogon Doutchi – a market town about 20 km (12.4 miles) from the border with Nigeria.
A traditional healer and an HKI Community Health Agent work together to protect malnourished children.
This post orignially appeared as a success story on 1,000 Days’ website. The 1,000 Days partnership seeks to improve nutrition for mothers and children in the 1,000 day period from pregnancy to age two when better nutrition can have a life-changing impact on a child’s future.
In Mali, Helen Keller International has developed a program to both treat and prevent malnutrition, an acute public health problem in this part of the world. HKI’s Senior Nutritionist in Mali, Vanessa Dickey, explains how a traditional healer and an HKI Community Health Agent found common ground to protect the health of malnourished children in the Koulikoro Region.
My colleague, Oumou Sangare, noticed a worrisome trend in the health district of Banamba; children diagnosed with acute malnutrition were not going to the local health center for the treatment they desperately needed. She was determined to find out the reason for this behavior.