Bicycles helps in the treatment of acute malnutrition in distant communities in Mozambique
"With this bike I can do everything with ease, I can visit three nutrition sites in the same day."
Nhamatanda, SOFALA – “Before, I had to walk to the communities and the work was heavy and I could not complete what I had planned to do that day because of the long distance between communities, sometimes I had to walk for two hours. Now with this bicycle I can do everything easily, I can visit three nutrition sites in the same day," said Jeremias Domingos Caetano, a Community Health Worker (CHW) in Aviário community, in Nhamatanda District, province of Sofala.
In 2021, the Sofala Provincial Health Directorate (DPS), with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) started the pilot programme of Treatment of Acute Malnutrition in the Community (TDC) through the CHWs. UNICEF, with financial support from the European Union, has been supporting the procurement and distribution of nutritional supplements and equipment, training of the CHWs and health workers, and supervision of field activities.
The main objective of TDC is the prevention, early identification, treatment, and referral of severe cases of acute malnutrition at an early stage and involves a strong component of food and nutritional education and cooking demonstrations using local ingredients. With the treatment at the community level, it is hoped to reduce the number of drop-outs due to the long distances between the Health Centres and the communities.
Now I can go and treat children and visit another nutrition site on the same day.
Jeremias has 5 nutrition sites, and each site is visited once a month. One of the major difficulties he faced in the effective implementation of his work was the lack of means of transportation to travel between the communities and the Health Centre. He recently benefited from a bicycle purchased with UNICEF and the European Union funds as a tool to facilitate his work. "Now I can go and treat children and visit another nutrition site on the same day," said Jeremias.
At the community level, TDC takes place in the nutrition sites, which are focal points identified by the communities for the provision of health care and nutrition to children from 0 to 24 months. At the nutrition site, children are offered the Nutrition Intervention Package (NIP), which comprises 7 key interventions for the prevention of chronic malnutrition: (1) Exclusive breastfeeding counseling from 0 to 6 months; (2) Complementary and responsive feeding counseling from 6 to 24 months; (3) Hygiene and environmental sanitation counseling; (4) Vitamin A supplementation from 6 to 24 months; (5) Micronutrient Powder supplementation from 6 to 23 months; (6) Deworming from 12 to 24 months; and (7) Growth monitoring.