UNICEF is one of the most important partners of the Haitian government in the field of Nutrition. Field interventions are carried out through several non-governmental partners, including the Foundation for the Development and Supervision of the Haitian Family (FONDEFH), which provides technical support to the Ministry of Health in the implementation of nutrition services.
Port-au-Prince, January 31, 2018- The voice of Vanessa Joseph, 20, is very weak, nearly inaudible, forcing one to get close to hear what she says. She holds in her hands her little boy Israel, 8 months old, whom she’s brought in for treatment. The child suffers from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), according to one of the nurses. He was diagnosed when his mother visited a community center in Delmas 75 (Port-au-Prince).
Vanessa sits in the waiting room trying to contain the ardor of her child. In the background, the sound of cars, as the community clinic of Delmas 75 is in the middle of a busy neighborhood. On the floor below, voices of patients and the cries of children being treated are heard.
“Today is Israel’s follow-up appointment. I did not know that this center existed, I was told about it and I took my son. I am satisfied with the service I received, and I did not pay anything,” she explains. Since the child was admitted to the program, there has been significant progress.
Vanessa does not work and the father of the child lives in the Dominican Republic. Previously, she lived in another neighborhood, and she was not used to taking her boy to the hospital. She is very happy to have this opportunity now, because where she lived, there was only one vaccination program. For the moment, she lives with her parents near the health center.
Manilande Branchl’homme, a nurse at the health center, says that after screening, the child was given an appetite test to see whether he could be treated on an outpatient basis with a home-based diet or if he had to be hospitalized, anorexia being one of the frequent consequences of malnutrition.
“In our clinic, we take care of home malnutrition by giving the child PlumpyNut, a ready-to-use food formulated to meet the needs of malnourished children along with systematic medical treatment. The children have an appointment each week to monitor their health and growth, and to pick-up their PlumpyNut ration. We also conduct nutrition education sessions for mothers to learn how to better feed their children,” she adds.
A clinic serving the community
The Delmas Community Clinic 75 is a health facility managed by FONDEFH, an important technical partner of UNICEF, serving a population estimated at nearly 63,000 people. Daily attendance at the clinic can reach more than 600 people. The community health workers attached to this health facility are manage ongoing outreach work among the population.
The services available within the center are included in a care package called “Community Health”. It includes, among other services, vaccination and nutrition support. HIV care is also a component. There is also a maternity ward and a prenatal clinic within the center.
Nutrition care is free, which is vital for the disadvantaged populations attending the center, and provided thanks to the support of donors including UNICEF.
UNICEF a key partner of Nutrition
“Nutrition is a fundamental element in the survival and development of the child. It is therefore essential to provide these services to the most vulnerable families and those living in the most remote areas of the country. What we want is to have healthy children and UNICEF works with the Haitian State and partners to provide these services,” said Marc Vincent, UNICEF Representative in Haiti.
In terms of nutrition services to the Haitian population, there are several UNICEF country program objectives worth recalling: UNICEF will provide technical support to reinforce the leadership and coordination capacity of the Coordination Unit of the National Program for Food and Nutrition; UNICEF will ensure that nutrition efforts prioritize the 1,000-day window of opportunity from conception to 2 years of age; UNICEF will ensure that health facilities and community stakeholders in communes most affected by malnutrition have the capacity to provide pregnant and lactating women and children under 5 years of age with a package of quality, cost-effective nutrition services.
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