We started working with a team specialized in malnutrition and formed by a nutritionist, a nurse, a driver, the Regional Nutrition Coordinator in Turkana and the employees of the Local Hospital which helps us when we face hospital admissions, and a Spanish volunteer doctor deployed to the region.
This project has prioritized the following activities:
- malnutrition screening processes and general paediatric pathology to all children under seven years old who live either in the 12 local areas in which the Hermanas Misioneras de la Iglesia, our partners, manage the nursery schools or in any other local areas in which our presence is requested by the Ministry of Health. We follow the development of each malnourished child.
- nutrition follow-up appointment in the Local Hospital of Lokitaung to look after the children previously diagnosed with malnutrition or who have been in hospital and have been sent home. At the same time, we offer free paediatric appointments and we collaborate with the Distribution Day in which the local nutritionist and the community health workers distribute nutritional aids to all malnourished children living in Lokitaung.
- treatment to all children suffering from malnutrition, both mild and severe. We provide them with food or hospital admission in the case of severe malnutrition or serious diseases.
- distribution of Vitamin A, anti-parasites and multivitamins to all children under seven years old.
- give speeches about malnutrition to all teachers who work in the nursery schools, as well as provide courses on how to manage malnourished patients to all workers of the Local Hospital.
What have we achieved so far?
- more than 2,300 children taken care of; 79 were diagnosed severe malnutrition and 517 mild malnutrition who entered the program to be checked upon frequently with follow-up appointments.
- these follow-up appointments which take place in the Re-nutrition Unit in Lokitaung have managed to let 161 children leave hospital due to improvement in their condition.
- teachers working at the nursery schools are now aware of the important they play in order to better take care of the malnourished children.
…with many challenges and struggles found on our way…
- cultural and social conditions of the people who benefit from this service make it difficult for them to attend follow-up appointments or follow the imposed treatment.
- the population is very dispersed; the distances between each population hub are long so looking after very few children implies long travels.
- limited education of the healthcare sector in Lokitaung.
- it has been extremely difficult to distribute nutritional aid and other nutritional aid through the hospital despite using retailers in Nairobi as distribution channels.
- the difficulties faced in order for teachers to assume the responsibility of supervising malnutrition treatments.
Despite all of the above, we need and we want to continue working in this region because…
- today, all children living in 12 local areas in North Turkana and who are less than seven years old can count on a health team that visits and assists them for free every three weeks.
- we are helping fight hunger in the population hubs.
- we have strengthened the Hospital of Lokitaung’s weekly services by incorporating nutrition and general paediatric appointments.
But we are going to switch our strategy by…
- fostering the children’s nutrition in the nursery schools.potenciando la alimentación de los niños en las Escuelitas Preescolares.
- educating and making teachers, who work in the nursery schools, aware of the important role they play in fighting against nutrition in order for them to become our major ally.
- increasing the supervision of how the evaluations which take place every term by the missionaries, amongst many agents involved.
Thank you all for your support and for making this project come true!