Dagoretti Sub County: Community Health Workers Raise MNP Demand

Josiah Aunda is one of a kind. A community Worker at Dagoretti Sub County. He is committed to the Kenyan child. He has been working as a Community Health Worker-CHW for some time now. He moves from door to door to sensitize mothers on Micronutrients Powders- MNPs. Micronutrients Powders is one of the interventions by the government of Kenya to scale up nutrition. By policy, all children aged six to 23 months should be given MNPs to increase their micronutrients dietary intake. Other than moving from house to house in a bid to create MNPs awareness, Mr. Aunda at other times spends his mornings giving health talks on micronutrients in health facilities. Today he is passing his knowledge on MNPs at Ngong Road Health Centre. As he continues sensitizing mothers in attendance for MCH clinic more mothers walk in. This is as a result of previous outreaches done in the sub county to create demand for MNPs.

Mr. Aunda continues his talk by posing a question to see if his students remember how use the current brand name of MNPs in the Kenyan. “We add to warm food in an amount a child can finish. “Answers a mother in the middle of the room. To demonstrate that she got the lesson right, she adds that if you give your child food fortified with MNPs you skip two days then add to food on the third day.” Aunda approves her answers and continues that mothers should bring more mothers so that their neighbours with children aged below 23 months can be put on the program as well. Mr. Aunda is satisfied that his work contributes to improving nutritional status among children.“When we measure weight for age among children, we note cases of underweight children who need urgent attention” adds Mr. Aunda “With this you can now fortify your baby’s food at home.” He holds up a packet to MNPs to demonstrate what he is talking about to the clients.

Micronutrient Powders contain 15 essential vitamins necessary for childhood growth. Today more mothers have come to the clinic not only for routine checkups but also to receive the magic sachet. Each mother receives 10 satchets for the month after with they come back for more. With the outreaches more mothers are aware of the MNP. Mr. Aunda is grateful for having attended MNP training through the sub county with support from Global Alliance for Improved nutrition and Centre for Behaviour Change and Communication. He workers with other 15 community health workers in his community unit. Ngong Health Center is doing a good job in distribution of the MNPs Commodities not only directly but also supplying to health facilities such as Kenyatta National Hospital, Gatina Health Center according to the sub county nutritionist Esther Mogusu.

Esther Mogusu applauds the exercise attesting to the fact that mothers report improved appetite in their children adding that micro nutrient boost immunity for the child’s body to fight diseases. She advises mothers to ensure that they give children nutrient rich complementary foods for better childhood growth. “We have cases of underweight majorly due to poor feeding practices. However at the early stages of a child growth, this can be corrected by enrolling all children in this program together with proper complimentary feeding practices after six months of exclusive breast feeding.

Feeding children pumpkin and potatoes daily is not right.”Pumpkin is a vegetable while potato is starch. The child has to have daily intake of all food groups together with a fruits in addition to micronutrients powders. Dagoretti sub county nutritionist says that the outreach as helped create awareness and demand for micronutrients powders. “Since we started, we have dispensed directly about 11,510 sachets. Mogusu notes that maternal health Clinic attendance has improved as parents bring their children for growth monitoring but also to pick MNPs. With Vitamins and mineral supplementation we are confident we will fight micronutrient deficiencies within Dagoretti Sub County, adds Mogusu.

National Policy Guideline on Home Fortification

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