The poorest children at highest risk for hunger and malnutrition often live in isolated villages far from a clinic or hospital. Finding those who are most in need of treatment can be challenging. Once the malnourished children are found, their growth and response to treatment can be difficult to monitor. The Global Health Partnerships (GHP) project relies on volunteer community health workers (CHWs) trained by GHP to accomplish these tasks. The CHWs live in the villages and know the families well. They coordinate outreach clinics on weekends where the children are weighed and measured to assess their nutritional status, and immunizations are also given. Those meeting the criteria for severe or moderately severe malnutrition are enrolled in the GHP therapeutic feeding program. Severe malnutrition is treated with Plumpy’nut®, a fortified peanut-based paste. Children with less severe malnutrition receive Unimix, a fortified soy-corn flour blend that is made into a porridge. The CHWs help monitor the growth of the children and provide the mothers with a supply of Plumpy’nut® and Unimix every 2 weeks. The high success rate of this therapeutic feeding program can be largely attributed to these dedicated CHWs.
A CHW monitoring a child's growth
A CHW weighing a child with a hanging Salter scale
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