Today, in celebration of World Food Day, a food exposition was held at two of our community health centers, displaying nutritious fruits and vegetables that are accessible to the people in the area. Community health workers provided explanations about how to incorporate these foods into their diets, and participants were given samples to help encourage healthy food choices.
The HAS nutrition program screens all children in our service area under five years old for malnutrition, and treats them in both the hospital and community health centers with PlumpyNut® and PlumpySup®, fortified peanut butters. Community health workers also hold education sessions to train mothers on subjects such as the importance of breast feeding to a child’s nutritional health.
Additionally, cooking demonstrations showed parents how to provide nutritious meals with familiar ingredients and cooking methods. Recipes incorporated readily available foods, such as leaves of moringa trees, which provide high quantities of Vitamins A and C to children.
In Haiti, malnutrition is the number one underlying cause of death in children under age five. Parents in the HAS service area work hard to care for their children, but even with these efforts, many families simply do not have enough food. As a result, HAS treats 150 children each year with severe acute malnutrition in the hospital malnutrition unit and provides outpatient treatment for malnutrition to another 550 children at HAS community health centers and in patients’ homes.