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Improving The Quality of Diet With Micronutrient Powders

By Caroline SANG

Wajir County Department of Health with support from Islamic Relief has been implementing High impact nutrition interventions (HiNi) in West, Wajir North and Eldas sub-counties. However, the component of multiple micronutrient supplementations as an intervention to curb micronutrient deficiency amongst children aged 6-23 months was not supported until August 2014. Since then, the Department of Health has been implementing a micronutrient supplementation program targeting all children aged 6-23 months through existing health facilities and outreach infrastructures in a bid to improving the quality of diet for children aged 6-23months and thereby improving their micronutrient status.
One Saturday morning in Elnur Village, Wajir West Sub-County I join Ahmed Abdi who is a Community Health Worker at Elnur Health Centre during his routine household visit activities. We visit 17 year old Fardowsa Osman Mohamed, mother of 13 months old Siyaad Rogo Mohamed. The community was made aware of the purpose of the program she says,
“I heard of this children’s medicine from the community health workers who go round the village with the medicine giving and educating people on its importance. At the health facility, the Nurse told me that this medicine will help my baby; he will be healthy, strong and will have lots of appetite. ”Fardowsa narrates.
Fardowsa says she was informed about various micronutrients added to the powder inoder to improve the quality of her baby’s diet.
“I was happy to know my baby will receive nutrients that I could not provide such as vegetables and fruits. It is very difficult to get vegetables and fruits in this village unless you travel to Wajir town which is 30 kilometers away. Besides I do not have enough money to buy him fruits and vegetables every now and then. I have been taught
on the importance of giving variety of foods to my baby but I cannot give Siyaad everything I want to because I am poor. We have two meals a day; milk tea every morning, and beans with rice for dinner. I save some food from the dinner meal for Siyaad’s lunch; he drinks milk for snacks and breastfeeds every now and again. My baby’s appetite has greatly improved; Siyaad is eating and breastfeeding a lot-this was not the case before I started adding the medicine to his food”
Fardowsa has been giving her 13 month old baby micronutrient powders for the past six months, one sachet every other day. The happy mother receives her baby’s seventh month ration from the CHW and assures him that she will adhere to the dosage with the sole aim of improving her child’s diet.