By: Haruna Kuyateh
National Nutrition Agency NaNA with support from UNICEF organized four-day training for 40 Community Health Nurses on Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition IMAM Program – Out Patients OTP. The training was held at Jankey Wally Lodge in the Lower River Region. Participants were drawn from all Health regions across the country.
The training is expected to harness the understanding of Community Health Nurses on key information and to enable them to respond to promoting the nutritional uptake of under-five children.
It is envisaged that the four days of capacity development would have a greater impact on broadening the understanding of CHNs. The expectations from participants indicated their commitment to acquiring skills and knowledge on IMAM SAM and the importance of nutrition to enhance the growth and development of children.
Dr. Amat Bah, Executive Director of NaNA lauded UNICEF for their traditional support over the years in addressing malnutrition, breastfeeding, and complementary feeding practices through capacity building of nurses and communities. He noted that all agreed plans of activities with UNICEF and other donors are implemented and monitored to gauge their impact on children and at community levels.
Director Bah assured of management’s continued commitment to partnering with UNICEF in protecting children from diseases to boost growth and development. He said nutrition should be seen as a development issue and reiterated the need for CHNs to be proactive and transfer appropriate skills and knowledge to address malnutrition. There is a need for massive investment in nutrition, as it will help to promote the health and well-being of children and by extension reduce case management at the facility level.
The approach aimed at attaining Universal Health Coverage and reducing the burden on the referral of all childhood diseases. He calls on participants to explore all opportunities during the four days of training to learn new methods and techniques in promoting IMAM and SAM and including measuring malnourished children and triage.
NaNA boss hailed the excellent relationship with the Ministry of Health and recognized the important roles of Community Health Nurses, through established Primary Health Care (PHC) and Village Health Services (VHS). The establishment of PHC is aimed at bringing health services closer and it is in line with WHO standards, of ensuring proper case identification, management, referral, and attaining effective diagnosis and treatment.
Director Bah’s nutrition surveillance, screening, and measuring of the nutritional level of children by mothers demonstrated the level of commitment shown by CHN in empowering women. His office recognized the enormous contribution of Health in rolling out capacity development through partnership. Bah said there is a need for concerted efforts in combating malaria, anaemia, and malnutrition among others to support child development.
The nutrition surveillance conducted by NaNA and the Ministry of Health data are authentic and credit goes to all and including CHNs. The last training was held in 2019 and optimistic that such an opportunity will add more value and impact the management of Childhood diseases. Human Capital Development cannot take place if children are not protected from diseases and are malnourished.
Bakary Dampha of UNICEF described the partnership with NaNA as excellent in the Implementation of programmes and projects. He noted that the management of children from acute malnutrition enhances the referral of treatment cases. He said children deserve more care, protection, and a healthy lifestyle, to boost growth and development.
Dr. Kalipha Gasama, the lead trainer said the training will help to clear doubts on key areas and support in promoting IMAM and SAM at community levels. Good and functional Primary Health Care Services can contribute to the reduction of massive improvement in health and contribute to the reduction of diseases. Dr. Gasama lauded the efforts of NaNA and health in strengthening the human resource base of CHN in the quest of empowering communities.
The training centered on an overview of IMAM, the important importance of the community outreach programme, defining malnutrition, basic nutrition, Active Screening, measuring malnutrition, triage, OTP, practical sessions for measuring malnutrition and triage, monitoring, review of Severe Acute Malnutrition SAM return template ( OTP return, register, RUFT look up the chart.