By Sarjo Camara -Singateh
The health promotion and education directorate under the ministry of health and social welfare, in collaboration with the National Nutrition Agency, commenced its second phase of training of traditional communicators and village support groups in Gunjur, Kombo South, on the 28 January, 2016.
Funded by UNICEF, the training targeted 70 participants who were exposed to facts on malnutrition, infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and role of traditional communicators on Intergraded Malnutrition of acute management (IMAM).
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the deputy director of health promotion and education, Mr.Sanjally Trawally highlighted the importance of the training and the key role traditional communicators, drama groups and traditional healers play in educating and informing the masses. He said families can also play a huge role in protecting their children.
Mr. Trawally explained that acute malnutrition occur when an individual suffers from severe nutritional restrictions, a recent bout of illness, inappropriate child care practices or a combination of these factors. He added that the result is sudden weight loss or the development of bilateral pitting oedema, which can be reversed with appropriate treatment. He highlighted that stunting and wasting are challenges that they are out to deal with.
Mr. Stanley Mwase, Nutrition specialist, UNICEF, said malnourished children need to be identified and taken to the health facilities for care. He stressed that participants should be able to teach the parents about malnutrition after the training. He said malnutrition affects the development of children.
Representing the Regional Director Health Services, West Coast 2, was Mr. Buba Jatta who said that one may be right to state that IMAM as an intervention has the potential to fortify the integrated management of childhood illness for children under five years. This, he added, is another scientifically proven recommended strategy by both WHO and UNICEF.
“We know that some childhood illnesses can lead to acute malnutrition, and in the same vein, acute malnutrition can lead to some childhood illness,” he said.
He described the sensitization as the right thing to do, since it is evidence based.
One of the traditional communicators noted that this is an opportunity that would enhance their communication skills to meet various communities.
Mr. Ousman Dem, programme officer, Nutrition, under the directorate of health promotion and education, also stated the importance of this initiative.
The event was chaired by Mr. Lamin Jobarteh, regional health promotion and education officer WCR2.
It could be recalled that similar trainings were conducted at the Supreme Islamic Councils’ Conference Hall and Brikama Upper basic School on the 17 and 19 December, 2015 respectively. 660 participants across West Coast 1 and 2 were trained in both trainings.