The traditional social role of women and men have remained unchanged for many years. According to Halima Abdi,33, mother of four, residing in Basa location her role as a woman involves taking care of the family and ensuring her children are fed at the required times. She spends the better part of the day taking care to meet the needs of the household. Her husband, Mr. Abdi Osman, is a renowned politician and village elder who spends most of his time chairing community sessions and engaging in local businesses to provide for his households.
Their day to day activities were shortly interrupted when they delivered a low-birth-weight baby with an underlying condition and risk for severe acute malnutrition. At that time, in order to access a healthcare facility, she had to travel far to get a hospital. Weekly transportation cost became unbearable.
Long distances to health facilities remain one of the main challenge faced by the caregivers, denying their children with moderate malnutrition an opportunity to receive the needed treatment. During a routine visit by Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), Halima together with her husband were proud to showcase their skills in malnutrition screening with a colour-coded MUAC tape. They learnt to do this during household visits conducted by Community Health Volunteers supported through the partnership of Kenya Red Cross, MOH and UNICEF. At least once in a month, she screens her children and record the status in the monitoring tool.“Raising a healthy and happy child is fulfilling. Previously, I would rely on doctors and community health workers to screen and monitor the nutrition status of my preterm baby. Today, together with my husband Mr. Abdi, we have been empowered to screen our children for acute malnutrition using colour-coded MUAC tapes,” said Halima Abdi.
“Raising a healthy and happy child is fulfilling. Previously, I would rely on doctors and community health workers to screen and monitor the nutrition status of my preterm baby. Today, together with my husband Mr. Abdi, we have been empowered to screen our children for acute malnutrition using colour-coded MUAC tapes,” said Halima Abdi.
The factors that determine the nutritional status of a children such as access to healthy food and utilization of health services are closely related to the roles played by a mother. However, moving this task to not only mothers but male caregiver who are able to do it as effectively as the Community Health Workers (CHWs), have resulted to cases detected earlier, and timely corrective measures instituted leading to less child morbidity.
“During the household visit, I not only train mothers but also fathers on how to measure their children for acute malnutrition to ensure continuity and sustainability of the program”, affirmed Community Health Volunteer Hawa Gaba.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, mothers and caregivers whose children have recorded acute malnutrition are encouraged to conduct regular screening and attendance at link health facilities for further screening and monitoring. Currently, 56 cases of Malnutrition identified at household level have been received by Merti Health Centre and 27 cases by Bassa dispensary through Family MUAC self-referrals within 3 months period.