Mothers learn how to identify malnutrition in East Darfur

Mothers are training on how to prevent malnutrition by learning how to identify it and screen it in a health Centre in the state of East Darfur, Sudan

Bisrat Abiy
10 May 2022

UNICEF and its partners are working together to provide comprehensive services, including nutrition interventions, in 11 primary health care (PHC) centres in East Darfur.

The main objective of the joint nutrition programme is to prevent maternal and child malnutrition in all its forms.  Beyond prevention, UNICEF is also ensuring early detection and treatment are equally operational. 

A new initiative focusing on mid-upper-arm circumference (MUAC) measurement for families was launched in the second half of 2020 to enhance the ongoing community-level early detection and referral of malnourished children, as a result, 604 mothers of children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) received orientation sessions and training in the nutrition centres on how to use MUAC tape for screening and how to identify malnourished children, refer them to the Outpatient Therapeutic Programme (OTPs) centres and monitor their treatment progress at home.

“My child was saved from death thanks to the treatment he received at the health centre,” says Mariam Mohammed, a mother who lives in Sharif village in Adila Locality with a son who was diagnosed with Severe Acute Malnutrition.  

In May 2021, Mariam visited Sharif health centre to get treatment for her child who was immediately screened and admitted to the OTP center inside the health center for a period of three weeks before getting referred to the Targeted Supplementary Feeding Programme.

While she was in the health centre with her child, Mariam received a one-day training on mid-upper arm circumference measurement screening. She told UNICEF that she was happy to receive the training and to learn how to use the MUAC tape.

“Now, I can help other parents in my community detect malnutrition among their children,” says Mariam. “This is an opportunity for me to support my community and save lives.”

Following her training, Mariam has visited 34 households and screened 50 children, identifying and referring five children with Severe Acute Malnutrition to the health centres and 8 moderate malnutrition cases to the targeted supplementary feeding programme for further treatment. In her visits, Mariam continues to convey the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for mothers of children under six months who are affected by undernutrition.