Nutrition Clinics: Transferring the Knowledge

Our guest blogger this week is Racha Yehia, MFK Nutrition Fellow.

MFK’s main mission is to fight malnutrition in Haiti. With our gold-standard Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) Medika Mamba, we have been able to save thousands of children, giving them a chance for a brighter future. Along with the Medika Mamba we distribute, every week the local nurse provides an educational lesson to all the mothers that attend the malnutrition clinics. We discuss a variety of topics, including how to treat water, good hygiene practices, the Haitian food groups, vitamins and minerals (and in what food items they are found), how to prevent and treat diarrhea, family planning, vaccinations and many others. These lessons give caregivers the opportunity to improve their practices at home, and also transfer beneficial information that will help their child during and after the program. In addition, the classes provide information that they can pass on to other members of their households, their neighbors and friends.

MFK greatly believes in empowering local Haitians and providing them with the tools and resources to become more experienced in their field of work. For this reason, all the educational classes are done by the nurse or from time to time the community health worker. We feel that the message is better conveyed when it is a local person providing the information in creole. The mothers have a great respect for the nurses, taking their advice seriously and looking up to them. The topic discussed this week was the importance of vitamin A, iron and iodine and in which produce these nutrients are found. I brought along different wax food items which made the lesson more interactive.

I would say the highlight of that day was when I overheard some of mothers discussing what produce they would buy at the market that are high in vitamin A, iron and iodine. It is truly priceless to see firsthand how my knowledge in nutrition can be passed on to these families and little by little improving their eating habits. They are making these connections, and can put their new knowledge into action.