Written By: Eric Opa Doue, Rivercess County
More than 200 participants including community health volunteers, traditional birth attendants (TTMs) and nurses from 17 health facilities in Rivercess County have completed a three-week training on malnutrition. The training held in Cestos City, lasted from July 11 to August 3, 2015.
Speaking to Local Voices Liberia, Madam Reginal Moore, the Coordinator of the Essential for Nutrition Actions at the Ministry of Health said: “The objective of the training is to reduce malnutrition amongst the populace; especially children under 5 and women”.
The coordinator at the MOH’s Essential for Nutrition Actions (ENA) assured that participants are expected to go back to their communities to create awareness on the prevention of malnutrition saying: “Before we leave here the participants will draw out their work plan in other to respond to malnutrition”.
Malnutrition is not recorded as a health problem in RiverCess County, but Moore said, the training will prepared health workers and community volunteers tackled the problem if it arises in the county.
A study in 2012 recorded that 35.8 percent of Liberia’s citizens fell under the category of malnourished with a bigger number being children. The U.N.’s World Food Program reported in 2010 that 41.8 percent of children under the age of five years old were considered stunted due to malnourishment.
Studies show that malnutrition can cause irreversible brain damage, muscle and tissue deficiency and blindness. If moderately malnourished children are not assisted, their case will become severe. Poor nutrition within a child’s first 1,000 days can prevent them from reaching their full mental and physical abilities.
After the training in Cesstos City, Theophilus Geegbay, the Nutrition focal person of the RiverCess County Health Team, disclosed that 111 health workers, 162 GCHVs, and 37 TTMs were trained during the workshop.
According to Geegbay, the training conducted by the MoH is done in collaboration with the County Health Team and sponsored by the UN agency, UNICEF.
Unicef says it has trained over 700 health workers and opened 111 Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition sites, treating over 4,000 children with severe acute malnutrition. In post Ebola-Liberia, the UN children agency says its focus will be on ‘re-stocking and re-distributing vital nutrition supplies and therapeutic food to mothers and babies and re-training health workers under Ebola prevention protocols’.
A participant, Doris Garwah, TTM at a clinic in the Tembo District, said the training was her first and will enable her identify malnourish children in her area.