Niger: Dr Kadri Koda - Training in the management of severe under-nutrition

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 03 Aug 2005
Dr Kadri Koda - In His Own Words: "The training we're taking in the management of severe under-nutrition is both theoretical and practical. We are learning about the identification, prevention and treatment of under-nutrition and over the next 2 days, we're doing hands-on training at the therapeutic feeding center here in Aguie, Maradi Region. I'm from Madarounfa District, where I'm responsible for the community health development program, which is supported by UNICEF. This training is not only going to help me deal with the critical situation of under-nourished children in Maradi Region, but I will also be able to share what I've learned with my colleagues so that we can help prevent under-nutrition in the future. On top of the practical and theoretical aspects, the training is very enriching because we have health workers from various regions of Niger with all types of experience. Some are doctors, others nurses, some are mid-wives and others are health administrators. We're sharing our years of experience, while also learning the latest techniques and approaches to managing severe and moderate under-nutrition. It's important for health workers in Niger to be updated with the latest information and that was really made clear at the therapeutic feeding center today. Sixty-five children arrived just this morning for treatment of various degrees of under-nutrition. The worst cases are those suffering from severe undernutrition, along with medical complications. In the intensive ward, there are severely under-nourished children also suffering from malaria, bloody diarrhea, pneumonia and anemia. Nine-month old children who weigh the same as new-borns. Children so weak that they have no energy to cry ... their silence is deafening. It's only when they start to cry that we are happy because it means they are gaining strength. It's very heart-wrenching, but it is also good to know that we can save so many lives using the latest techniques."

UNICEF in Action:

UNICEF Niger and the Ministry of Public Health of Niger are conducting three rounds of capacity-building training for national health workers in Niger in the management of severe and moderate under-nutrition of children. In total, over 80 Nigerien health workers will be trained in just 3 weeks by a Ministry of Public Health medical doctor and a UNICEF Niger nutritionist. The training is being conducted in Maradi, the region most-affected by the current crisis in Niger.

The training of national health workers is not only essential in saving the lives of children suffering severe and moderate under-nutrition in the midst of this emergency, but in addition, the training also provides a sustainable, national approach to the early identification and prevention of severe and moderate under-nutrition in children throughout the country.

Using the "training of trainers cascade approach", key national health workers are trained to carry life-saving techniques back to their regions. This is one of the fastest ways to create sustainable, national health networks. All participants are national health staff, working for government, national and international NGOs as doctors, paediatricians, nurses, health administrators or mid-wives.

For more information on UNICEF's activities in West & Central Africa, please contact: kpage@unicef.org