Taking steps to reduce child malnutrition in Burkina Faso

posted by Judy Gray, director, World Neighbours Canada

 

yellow indicates moderately malnourished
yellow indicates moderately malnourished

Peter and I returned, in early April, from a monitoring mission to Burkina Faso to touch base with our partner NGO (APDC) and to deepen our understanding of their activities. Rates of malnutrition among children are tragically high in the area. We were able to attend a training session for community health animators about the dépistage process (malnutrition screening), one of the activities that will be undertaken as part of our new Maternal Child Health Initiative supported by Global Affairs Canada. What might appear a simple procedure to us – measuring upper arm circumference and recording the results – is not easy for people who have never had formal schooling. In addition to training the community health workers, APDC must train a “secretary” – a member of the

 

recording names, ages and nutrition level
recording names, ages and nutrition level

village, who is literate. The following day, we visited the village of Kpartangou to witness the process “in action”. There were about 50 mothers gathered under the big tree, waiting to have their children screened. A number of children fell into the moderately or severely malnourished category – the goal is now to diagnose the cause and then provide training and support so mothers can begin to alleviate the situation. Mothers were keen to learn about the opportunity to have their child evaluated at the regional Health Centre. The visit to these remote villages in eastern Burkina Faso, made us realize, once again, how slowly change occurs in many parts of the world and the gravity of the problems that many people face. We are glad to be part of World Neighbours Canada – an organization that is 

waiting for the malnutrition screening
waiting for the malnutrition screening

willing to accept this rate of change, and remains in  project areas for the long haul!