Histoires vécues

Histoires vécues

 

Surviving malnutrition is no longer a feat: Daouda’s story

© UNICEF/Burkina Faso/2018/Tarpilga
14-months-old Daouda Amadou eating Plumpy nut given by his mother. He benefited from care at Windou Health and is following an outpatient treatment. Daouda lives in Beguintigui, a village located 5 km from the city of Dori in the Sahel region

By Claude Tarpilga

Daouda Amadou is 14 months old. The last of eight siblings, he is recovering from severe acute malnutrition. Sitting on his mother’ feet, Daouda hungrily swallows the contents of the plumpy nut sachet that his mother gives him.

"Daouda is on the road to healing and we are not worried anymore. We are now very relieved ", says Aissata Mahamoudou Dicko, her 36-year-old mother.

Windou Health Center is located on the outskirts of the city of Dori in the Sahel region in Burkina Faso. About one month ago, Daouda was referred because he was suffering from severe malnutrition. He needed to be fed urgently and receive care.

"When he arrived at the health center, Daouda was feverish and had already lost weight. In addition he had a start of edema, "said Alexis Bazié, the Nurse Chief of the Health Center.

At Windou Health Center Daouda has benefited from free care as provided by the government measures taken in the last two years for children under 5 years. With the Electronic Registry of Consultation, Daouda’s diagnosis and treatment was made. The Nurse Chief gave him adequate care and sent him home with his mother to continue the treatment because his condition did not require keeping him under observation at the Health Center. Daouda was severely malnourished but without serious pathology associated.

With the Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) provided by UNICEF thanks to the European Commission-Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) funds, Daouda is progressively recovering. Aissata carefully gives the Plumpy nut to her son while respecting the instructions of the Nurse Chief.

At the end of the first week, Daouda's condition began to stabilize. With doses of RUTF received daily, Daouda gradually regained weight the second week and the smile has come back.

Daouda's reference to Windou Health Center is made possible thanks to the action and dynamism of community-based health workers.
In Beguintigui, Daouda’s village, two community-based health workers are very active and work hardly the community. They are, in a way, the link between the community and Windou Health Center. Trained, these community workers carry out a variety of health promotion activities. They also refer patients, when the situation requires, to Windou Health Center located 5 km from the village.

23-year-old Safiatou Hama is one of these community-based health workers. She visits households to educate them on essential family practices. With a graduated bracelet, she measures the circumference of the children’s arms in order to detect possible cases of malnutrition. "We routinely screen for malnutrition in children under five years. It has become a reflex for us during home visits. This is how little Daouda was taken to the Health Center following the screening we do in his family, "she says.

Daouda is now at two sachet of Plumpy nut per day. With appetite, he swallows the small doses his mother gives him. After a few takes his mother gives him water to drink before continuing with the Plumpy nut again. "The Nurse Chief advises us to give the child enough water to drink when he takes the contents of the sachet. This is a porridge that makes thirsty, "explain Aissata.

Nutrition education received at the Health Center and sensitization on essential family practices have allowed Aissata to provide adequate care to her child. In addition to RUTF given to her son, she practices exclusive breastfeeding to which she associates an adequate complementary feeding. "I commit myself to put these lessons into practice and to carefully follow the outpatient treatment until my son is completely cured," Aissata said

In Burkina Faso, the nutritional situation is still a big concern with a high prevalence of both chronic and acute malnutrition. According to the National Nutrition survey 2016, Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) among Under 5 children is 7.6% including a 1.4% Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) prevalence. Three regions (Est, Sud-Ouest and Boucle du Mouhoun) have SAM prevalence estimations over emergency threshold: 2.4%, 2.2% and 2.1%, respectively. The regions of Nord, Centre, and Sahel have SAM prevalence estimations and confidence intervals close to emergency thresholds: 1.9% (1.1% - 3.2%), 1.8% (1.0% - 3.1%) and 1.4% (0.7% - 2.9%), respectively.

From April 2017 to February 2018 ECHO funds enabled UNICEF Burkina Faso in supporting the government to ensure quality treatment to 140,000 children U5 (target : 140,942) through RUTF, F-75, F-100, Mebendazole and Resomal provision. It also enabled in supporting 27 malnutrition mass campaigns in 27 health districts reaching 1,027,489 children. Two different platforms have been used for SAM detection: mass screening and Child Health Days Events (Vitamin A Supplementation, deworming and acute malnutrition screening).

ECHO funds enabled UNICEF to maintain a continuous support to the government with improvement of IMAM coverage, quality and implementation of preventive activities. This was performed through several approaches including but not limited to supply procurement, capacity building, knowledge generation and management, and advocacy.

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