Written by: Alisha Kerr, nutritional volunteer in EBPP Health Team
17 Octubre 2012
I have been volunteering as a nutritionist with the EBPP Health Team since September. I studied nutrition, ethnic studies, and sustainable agriculture in California, EE.UU.. I am a 25 year old world traveler and am inspired to help others and continue my education as I hop from country to country. The learn-by-doing philosophy has created a very positive work environment where each of us are continuously learning, creating, challenging ourselves, and solving problems. EBPP is unique in its integrative approach towards enriching the lives of those living in Desa Ban by tackling the effects of poverty from several angles, enabling the locals to help themselves.
Yo trabajo principalmente con el programa mensual Posyandu. los miembros del personal del equipo de salud de PBE viajan a cada una de las 27 puestos de salud la población que ofrecen servicios médicos, Las evaluaciones nutricionales, y la educación para las mujeres embarazadas, madres lactantes, y niños de 0-5. Una nutrición adecuada durante el embarazo, amamantamiento, y la infancia es fundamental para el crecimiento y desarrollo adecuados, que requieren servicios médicos adicionales, y la educación en estos puestos de salud. Actualmente estamos desarrollando materiales para el destete y la educación sobre lactancia materna, infecciones de la piel, la prevención y la evaluación desnutrición, y la higiene personal.
Utilizamos las tablas de crecimiento para identificar y evaluar a cada niño en la categoría de desnutrición. Hacemos evaluaciones de los pacientes completos sobre los hijos de interés en el rango de desnutrición aguda severa desnutridos y en las tablas de crecimiento. We have identified seven cases of severe acute malnourishment and 21 cases of malnourishment during the September posyandu’s. Our first step is to identify the malnourished, then obtain a full patient assessment and interview with the mother, we then document each case with an attached picture, and follow up with a home visit in critical cases. The purpose of the home visit is to get a better grasp of why the malnutrition is occurring, educate the mother in private about the causes, consequences, and treatment of malnutrition, to bring any needed supplemental nutrition products, and to clearly go over a dietary plan.
We continue to monitor the child’s health and nutrition status after each home visit to assess how the child is responding to the diet plan, whether or not the weight has increased, and indentify any barriers to adhering to the diet plan. Each consecutive month we continue to pay close attention to the cases of malnourishment by analyzing the growth trends, and talking with the mother. If the child’s weight is staying the same or decreasing we continue the frequency of home visits, and outreach. Our goal is to identify individual child malnutrition early on before it gets severe, and educate the mothers as clearly and frequently as possible.
Each day I am inspired by the laughing children, and the hardworking mothers, who seem to rise up above all challenges. Seeing the effects of poverty up close has motivated me to continue this type of work. Each day another layer is peeled away, revealing more and more about the culture and people. I share a reciprocal relationship with the other health team members, where I am able to educate, as well as learn from them and their culture. It is a very respectful work environment, filled with cheerful smiles and family like conversation. I am happy to be here, and so thankful for all the teamwork enabling such a program to sustain itself.