We Love Mamba…and More!

From MFK Nurse Educator Ketsia Ratzlaff

We love Mamba! But, so much more goes on at the malnutrition programs MFK supports. Here is a quick snapshot of a few of the other services offered by MFK partners:

Referrals: As we are focused on community care, MFK doesn’t directly provide referrals. The nurses working at the clinics we support do! Through education and consultation, we work hard to help ensure the nurses can recognize when a child is too sick to be started on Medika Mamba, and know what appropriate steps to take to aid in the child’s immediate treatment. During all education sessions regarding the community-based treatment of malnutrition, we provide contact information for hospitals the children and babies can be referred to for impatient care. We have also recently created a more comprehensive directory of healthcare facilities offering free or affordable HIV and tuberculosis testing.

Screening:  Each child who presents to a clinic or hospital on  malnutrition program day is weighed and measured for height. This information is recorded regardless of whether or not the child is found to be malnourished. The data collected is used by the Haitian government and other non-government organizations to track rates of malnutrition in-country.

Education: We conduct educational sessions about the use of Medika Mamba, and the antibiotics, de-wormers and water treatment solution given out to help treat malnutrition for the families. We also share information about basic necessary vitamins and minerals, vitamin-rich foods, proper food storage, hygiene and water sanitation, among other topics. One of my favorite parts of the malnutrition clinic is observing the nurses stand up with the “eat well plate” poster, and discuss the food groups. They always teach with such joy and enthusiasm, and I find that the families are continually engaged. There is also a question and answer period with time for examples and discussion.

We keep very busy providing consultation and support to 16 clinics in north Haiti and our hope is that by spreading information and education, we can not only change the nutritional outcomes for these children, but also for other children in these communities when these caregivers share what they have learned.