Sunday, 24 April 2011

MALNUTRITION: Haiti: New premises to fight against malnutrition


Like many other buildings of the Hospital of the State University of Haiti (HUEH), that of the paediatric service of the hospital was not spared by the January 2010 earthquake and the Nutritional Stabilization Unit (USN), a unit of the Service, which handles the management of children with severe acute malnutrition, was found devoid of premises.

Haiti - Health : New premises to fight against malnutrition

"UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) had to accommodate the USN under tents to ensure the continuity of services for malnourished children," explains Marie-Claude Desilets, Nutrition Specialist of UNICEF But the tents, exposed to the weather, began to be worn. That is why UNICEF has decided to award an amount of 58,000 dollars for the construction of a semi-permanent structure that will be attached to the pediatrics premises. The USN has treated 319 children suffering from severe malnutrition, which represents about 22% of cases handled in 2010 for the whole country. And according to information provided by Mr. Mbakwa, Health and Nutrition Coordinator for Concern Worldwide Haiti, "from January to March 2011, 56 malnourished children were treated at the USN". Children may remain from 7 to 10 days, sometimes up to 15 days in USN, said Marie-Claude Désilets.
The new building will be equipped with two rooms. The largest will host twenty cradles [double the current capacity] as well as beds for parents. The second, smaller, serve as a playground for children. Also, this new structure will be equipped with toilets. The construction of the new premises of the USN was launched Thursday, March 24, 2011 and and work should be completed within one month. This project is implemented by the NGO Concern Worldwide, which, thanks to funding provided by UNICEF, put also available to the USN, eight members of its nursing staff. The international NGO also provides training for all medical personnel. This latest initiative is part of capacity building of the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP).
UNICEF is working with Concern Worldwide Haiti in support of malnourished children in several other hospitals of the capital such as the Hospital La Paix in Delmas 33, the Hospital Eléazar Germain in Pétion-Ville, the Hospital Saint Damien in Tabarre, the Hospital des Petits Frères et Sœurs, the Health Center of Martissant, the Health Center of Bizoton and that of Delmas 75. ccording to Marie-Claude Désilets, UNICEF is currently studying the possibility of providing support to the MSPP for the establishment of Nutritional Stabilization Units in 10 departments.

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