Collaboration is Key for Successful Assessment

During the months of July and August, MFK is collaborating with the University of Connecticut to evaluate our malnutrition programs. This research is so important in helping us understand the families that are enrolled in our Medika Mamba program and the socioeconomic determinants that contribute to a child’s success or challenges in treatment. With this type of data we can improve our services to better meet the needs of the population, getting valuable insight into a caregiver’s level of nutrition knowledge, as well as the issues, struggles and concerns they are currently facing. We can then develop educational lessons that are individually tailored to their everyday needs.

Currently, the student that is managing the research is Jon Lis, a second year medical student. With the help of his professor, Jon put together a questionnaire that investigates the factors that would contribute to a child’s success in the program. He is conducting the survey in the rural areas of Bahon and Montagne Noir and the urban slum of Shada. MFK runs malnutrition clinics in each of these locations every week. In addition to understanding more about family dynamics and what components help a child thrive in the program, we will also get the chance to compare the variables between rural and urban settings.

Jon attends clinic 4 days a week and interviews an average 2-3 caregivers a day with the help of a translator. He sits down with each person for around 45 minutes and questions them about household dynamics, family food/nutrition intake, quantity and quality of food items they eat, child’s usual intake, general nutrition practices, their knowledge of the Medika Mamba program and some basic demographic information. His goal is to interview a total of 50 caregivers from the three regions.

In all programs there is room for improvement, and caregiver feedback is the most direct way to prioritize changes. This way programs can be altered to better meet the needs of the population they are serving, which aligns perfectly with MFK’s mission of saving the lives of Haiti’s malnourished children in an efficient manner.