In 2015, in the districts of KouKou and Goz Beida, COOPI launched a project to combat malnutrition of infants, providing support for two Units of Therapeutic Nutrition, and thereby integrating treatment as well as prevention.
The video made by a member of the COOPI staff, Carlotta Pianigiani, illustrates the screening campaign that COOPI conducted in the months of December 2015 and January 2016 in the districts of Koukou and Goz Beida and which aimed at researching malnourished infants under the age of five years. During this period, the population shifts and moves to work in the fields which create further difficulties such as limited access to the therapeutic nutritional units.
Therefore, as well as to have the opportunity to gather together and make the community and the health system meet, the active research of the cases appears to be an effective solution to alleviate the problem and to reach the most remote areas.
The day before the village leaders and the heads of the centres are to be in charge of raising awareness and of explaining the importance of these activities, people dedicated to the activities occupy themselves of passing the message through a megaphone.
Subsequently, the teams, which are formed by two people who are responsible for taking anthropometric measurements and a nurse who is responsible for supervising and assessing each case, move to the villages and carry out the mentioned activities. Using a special bracelet, the brachial perimeter is measured of each child, as well as their weight and height. The cases that meet the national protocol’s described criteria are transferred to health facilities.
Special attention is given to refugees and homeless people who are in a more fragile situation as compared to the native population. The community participates actively and often one perceives great appreciation and gratitude for what COOPI is doing. This may not always be obvious among isolated populations with strong traditions and little access to western medicine.
In 2016 we aim to help 3,647 malnourished children, possibly preventing death and allowing them to grow up without any psycho-physical abnormalities.
We are aiming to implement the following:
- The rehabilitation of seven centres where the most severe cases of malnutrition are treated
- Health and nutritional screening
- Raising awareness of severe malnutrition cases to parents and raising awareness of the importance of alimentary safety, hygiene and of breastfeeding
- Training of health and nutrition staff