Weighing up Nutrition

Posted on 16th Oct by MJ Cox − Category: News

We held our first ‘Community Nutrition Outreach’ in Kinawataka and Katogo communities last week. We could not have prayed for more perfect weather – a brief shower of rain cooled off the afternoon but didn’t keep the mamas from coming. The open walled church in Kinawataka Slum was the ideal location, as it’s centrally located, and the walls contained the children playing as they waited to be seen. All staff members were involved on the day, each assigned to different roles in the flow of the event. Families moved between stations where the children were weighed, then measured, and evaluated for malnutrition.

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We assessed over 120 children’s nutritional status. Of the children who were assessed, twelve were underweight for their height and age, or moderately malnourished, and were not yet on our Nutrition Programme. What a success to find these mamas that needed help!

The twelve children and their caregivers were provided with information about our new programme that we are starting in each slum. Revelation Life is shifting our community health focus from one-on-one counselling to community-based mini-groups. When a child is identified as malnourished at our outreaches, the caregiver is invited to join a Nutrition mini-group. Each group is specific to the community in which the family lives, giving the parents support and encouragement as they join with neighbours who are struggling with the same issues.

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At these weekly sessions, families will be educated on topics such as, ‘What is a balanced diet?’, ‘What foods should I feed a child as they are weaning off breastfeeding?’ and, ‘Safe food preparation’. At each weekly session the child will be weighed and measured to monitor their recovery and the caregiver will be provided with ingredients to make a high protein porridge that the child will eat twice a day. We have seen remarkable results with this porridge, which is made of local millet and soya flours, as well as small, dried fish pounded into a fine powder. The fish provide great nutrients such as zinc to help the child recover from the damaging effects of diarrhoea and zinc deficiency rash, which sometimes appears on the child’s arms and legs. This will give the children the chance to gain weight and begin their healing process.

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Revelation Life and the Nutrition team are honoured to be part of these children’s journey of healing from malnutrition, changing their stories from ones of desperation to those of hope.