Food safety programme for the maternal and child population of the republic of gambia

In the Strategic Plan of Nutrition Without Borders, Sub-Saharan Africa is a high priority due to two main factors: the low rates of human de-velopment of the vast majority of the countries that make it up and the lack of operational health services capable of covering the basic health needs of the population.

One of the objectives set by the entity is to strengthen maternal and childhood food security and support agricultural development, as an integral, long-term project that contemplates community develop-ment in an enduring and endogenous manner.

This region continues to record an alarming infant mortality rate, with 92 deaths per 1,000 births, representing almost 15 times the average of high-income countries.

In The Gambia, 40% of the population is less than 15 years old. The communities suffer periods of hunger throughout the year, especially in the rainy season, when food reserves fall more and, on the contrary, more caloric needs are presented by the population as a result of the intensive work done in the countryside.

Geographical situation

The Gambia, sub-saharan Africa.

Social composition

Rural areas with very limited economic resources, low schooling and child popula-tion in charge of domestic work.

Local counterparts

Ministry of Health of The Gambia (MOH), Health District (RHT), Governors of the upper and lower regions of the river and the National Nutritional Agency (NaNA).

Centers for Recovery and Nutritional Educa-tion (CREN)

NWB has two Recovery and Nutritional Education Centers in The Gambia to im-plement the maternal and childhood malnutrition assistance program. These cen-ters have a medical visit area, 25 beds available to mothers and children, kitchen and pantry, laboratory and dietetic kitchen, bántabas and training classrooms, among the most outstanding features.

Activities

Maternal and childhood assistance for undernourished children:

In the Centers for Recovery and Nutritional Education (CREN) We treat children under the age of five who suffer from severe acute infantile malnutrition. During admission, these children receive health and nutritional treatment according to the guidelines for action on malnutrition proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the National Nutri-tional Agency (NaNA), to reach the optimal weight. Usually the stay in the center is 15 to 20 days. Mothers hospitalised with their sons and daughters receive, at the same time, training on; feeding, maternal and childhood nutrition, and food securi-ty.

Nutritional screening:

Nutritional screening is carried out in the community villages of the regions to assess the nutritional status of children and to detect malnutrition cases. During the visit to the villages, a medical record of the children is made, they are weighed and meas-ured to evaluate the nutritional status and to be able to keep track of their devel-opment. Children with severe acute malnutrition are referred to CREN and chil-dren with moderate acute malnutrition receive treatment in the community.

Training for local and community health workers:

Training the country's health personnel in the detection, management and treat-ment of malnutrition (Moderate Acute Malnutrition). Realisation of professional practices of the national health personnel in the Centers of Recovery and Nutri-tional Education. Conducting training sessions for local people in their communities to detect malnutrition cases and to promote hygiene and good habits for food safety.

Assistance to Community gardens:

In the framework of the NWB malnutrition reduction strategy, a sustainable crop promotion project is being carried out, encouraging and training the general popu-lation of the selected settlements in the cultivation and consumption of local plants with higher nutritional content.

Results

307.887 mothers and children have directly benefited

4.281 children have recovered from severe acute malnutrition

139.646 children have been nutritionally screened

65.400 People who have attended training in food and nutritional issues

96 community gardens have been assisted.