Shawn Baker describes his visit to a health center with Nicholas Kristof
Shawn Baker continues his travels with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof, and the two winners of his “Win-A-Trip” contest. Below is his second post.
My only prior trip to Mauritania was in 1987 when I visited the capital, Nouakchott. Having spent over two decades since living in or visiting 30 other African countries, I was not excepting to be surprised. However, from the time we left Senegal last Thursday – my home for the past eight years – to arriving back today, it was a constant source of amazement. Who could have known that all that separated me from a vastly different country was a ferry ride across the Senegal River?
The road between Nouakchott and the border with Senegal is the major economic lifeline of the country but it is hard to imagine that this narrow strip of macadam, eaten away by sand and salt air, regularly covered with sand dunes, and filled with bone-jarring potholes, is what facilitates commerce between two countries; the overall impression is a sparsely populated moonscape.
We stopped at a few places along the way to chat with villagers, so Nick could interview a lactating camel, and finally to visit a health center in the largest town between Nouakchott and Rosso.
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.