Monday, September 24, 2012

Fighting Malnutrition- Part 2

As mentioned in Part 1, fighting malnutrition is a constant stuggle here at Hôpital Evangélique "Le Pionnier."

 There are nutritional supplements that are available free of charge from an NGO working in the area. Unfortunately, over the last year, fewer and fewer have made it to Impfondo.

What can we do about this?

Stephen spent time finding the closest approximation we could make with the ingredients we have available.  With milk, sugar, and oil, we can make F100, a nutritional milk. With those same ingredients plus peanut butter, we can make Plumpy Nut, a nutritional food.

Of course, one thing we have learned during our time in Impfondo is that nothing is as simple as it sounds.

 With help from Compassion and Mercy Associates (CAMA), we have funding available to help us fight malnutrition.

 The first challenge comes in trying to find all the ingredients.
Shopping in one of the stores at the market.

This summer, the river was low, and there weren't many boats.  Not many supplies were able to make it to the market. It became a challenge to search the market for the things we need. 

Generally, I buy the milk in 2.5 kilo cans and the sugar in 5 kilo bags.  I load up my bike trailer and pedal back home.

 We buy the oil in 25 liter "bidons" (large plastic jugs.)  Someone buys peanuts, roasts them, skins them, crushes them, and grinds them to make peanut butter for us.

Stephen making F100

Once we have all the supplies, we can mix up the F100 and Plumpy Nut. But we also have concerns about who will be able to take over this job while we are in the US. It needs to be someone who is trustworthy and reliable. They also need to understand about sanitary conditions, measurements, and have a place where they can prepare things.
Teaching Mama Melanie how to make Plumpy Nut

Mama Melanie fits all these requirements. As of now, she is making Plumpy Nut once a week. She's also the one who makes peanut butter for us. We are hoping that we will be able to arrange things for her to continue this work when we are not here.

Once every thing is made it is a simple matter to walk it over to the pharmacy where it can be distributed for patients.
Delivering F100 to the pharmacy

The doctors can write a prescription for the patient, and they can pick it up what they need at the pharmacy.

Mama Olga, one of our pharmacy workers
As you can see, there are many people involved in the steps: those who treat the patients, give money, purchase the items, make the supplements, keep inventory, and distribute the supplements.

It takes teamwork to fight malnutrition in Impfondo!
Would you like to be part of our team?  See the CAMA website for giving information or ask us about working in Impfondo.

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