Proper nutrition essential for mothers and young children in Haiti
By: Chris Tidey, UNICEF Canada
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 10, 2010 – UNICEF is now working with partners and community leaders throughout Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas on a lifesaving nutrition program for mothers and children under five.
Seventy community leaders divided into 35 teams of two have now been trained by UNICEF to evaluate young children, pregnant and lactating mothers for malnutrition. Each day, the teams fan out to temporary settlements across the city, visiting families in every individual shelter to assess their nutritional needs.
The campaign which was launched earlier this week will cover 40,000 children aged six months to five years in only three weeks.
After nutritional evaluation, children will receive blanket supplementary feeding for 21 days to ensure they are receiving proper nutrition. Children aged three to five years, pregnant and lactating mothers also receive a 21-day supply of high energy biscuits.
Evaluation teams are also monitoring for children suffering from malnutrition. Any child identified as malnourished is immediately referred to a therapeutic feeding program.
Yesterday, we visited the settlement at Village De L’Union where 600 families, many with small children, have been living since the January 12 earthquake. We followed evaluation teams as they visited each and every shelter to determine the nutritional needs of mothers and young children.
In just one day, 11 children were identified as malnourished and referred to a therapeutic feeding program, and nearly 400 mothers and children received nutritional support.
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