Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) in the first 1000 journées: Window of opportunity for mothers and babies­!

By Brenda de Kok, EBPP Public Health Nutritionist Volunteer

The past three months I have learned a lot about the lives and the needs of the people in East Bali. Much more than if I would only stop by as a traveler, a thing that I had been doing over the last months. I quit my job in the Netherlands as a Nutrition Researcher and started travelling the world. It has been a thrilling experience, exploring new cultures, meeting inspiring people and discovering amazing landscapes. But there is more to it. Vous voyez les inégalités dans le monde avec vos propres yeux: familles dans des logements insalubres, transport par routes défoncées,et les hommes et les femmes face à des conditions de travail difficiles, pour ne citer que quelques-uns.

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Cela m'a donné envie de faire quelque chose en retour pour les gens qui sont si généreux et accueillant à un étranger dans leur pays. Non seulement en achetant un peu de nourriture à partir d'un vendeur de rue ou un bracelet d'une petite fille, mais d'une manière plus durable. Mon idée correspondait parfaitement à la philosophie du Projet sur la pauvreté Bali Est: “Helping the people to help themselves” and that is how I ended up sending my application for three months volunteering as a Public Health Nutritionist.

After arranging my visa, I settled down in Sanurclose to the Annika Linden Centre where EBPP has set up their Health and Nutrition Centre. In this office, the expertise of the organisation is extended to other communities who need special support.Here, I supported Putri Krismayanthi (diplômé de la santé publique hautement motivé et membre de l'équipe de santé EBPP depuis Décembre 2014) de fournir des conseils en nutrition pour les enfants atteints de paralysie cérébrale (une déficience intellectuelle qui affecte le mouvement, la posture et la coordination). Beaucoup de ces enfants sont mal nourris et en fournissant des conseils adaptés aux parents, nous cherchons à améliorer leur état nutritionnel et la capacité de bénéficier de la thérapie qu'ils reçoivent de YPK, une ONG balinais dédiée à aider les personnes ayant un handicap physique. It was lovely to see the parents caring so much for their son or daughter, being interested to try different food textures and new recipes to stimulate the children’s appetite and increase meal variety. In the last month, we had seen some positive influence on children’s growth -the result you are hoping for. Though, not all parents were easy to reach to book successes. Therefore, I am proud that EBPP has the ambition to develop new resources for counselling and reach out to more families in 2017.

In addition to the activities at the Annika Linden Centre, I was introduced to EBPP’s health and nutrition outreach programs in Desa Ban in my first week. I visited several Posyandu (local health posts) where Cadres (volunteer community health workers, recruited and trained by EBPP in 2003-4) measure the weight and height of children aged 0-5 ans. According to their data registrations and additional research of EBPP, there are still many undernourished infants in the 19 sub-villages.

Par conséquent, il y avait un besoin d'acquérir une meilleure compréhension des causes profondes de la malnutrition pour être en mesure de résoudre le problème: le point de ma mission de départ. Réellement, que le temps était passé, il y avait seulement dix semaines pour développer, exécuter et évaluer la recherche! Un défi que je suis heureux de prendre ensemble avec Amy Cardamone (EBPP Conseiller Programme de santé) et Karina Tarcisio, who also joined EBPP as a qualified and experienced volunteer Public Health Nutritionist this September.

copy-of-4Notre objectif était d'apprendre des parents, Cadres and midwives using focus group discussions. While working on the assignment, I realized the cultural and religious influences are really strong here in Bali. Not only it had an impact on planning our focus group schedules but it also appeared in the answers that the participants gave. In four weeks’ time, we managed to speak to 38 parents, 14 Cadres and 6 midwives that serve the area during eight focus group discussions. All staff members of the Health Team contributed to accomplish this, a great team effort that I found so amazing. Our results show that there are many opportunities to improve the nutritional status of the children in Desa Banespecially in the first 1000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2Dakota du Nord birthday. It is the window of opportunity and can break the cycle of poor nutrition for a healthier and more prosperous future. We heard many stories that struck me deeply; families that have no water in the dry season, no money to buy meat, no transportation to go the health clinic, no soap to wash hands, no proper feeding practices for babies and so on. But I keep hope as the results are the foundation for EBPP’s 2017 outreach programs to encourage behavior change and raise awareness about the possibilities to make a change in the first 1000 journées.

The organisation is blessed with passionate employees who made my time a lot of fun as well. Merci! Thank you guys for the great time with East Bali Poverty Project.Again, J'ai appris beaucoup de choses sur la vie et les besoins de la population dans l'Est de Bali – et de mettre les choses en perspective en ce qui concerne ma propre vie. Je suis heureux d'avoir pu contribuer de cette manière et je suis reconnaissant pour cette expérience précieuse.

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