Emergency nutrition management on infants and young children
After the earthquake that hit on the two different districts if Nepal, the infant and young child feeding became a major challenge to the people and other concerned bodies. Many organizations and welfare communities worked in the field of infant and young children feeding. One of such campaign was held in the rural area of the Sindupalchwok district. The camp was organized by a NGO and was supported by various other bodies, government and the UN itself. The camp mainly focused on the infant and young children feeding in emergency condition. This camp had a series of actions. The infants, young children, children who lost their parents, all were quite benefited by the camp. The nutrition management was handled by a well qualified team which had various strategies to manage the emergency nutrition. Exclusive breast feeding to the children below 6 months age was promoted throughout the camp. Similarly the infants who lost their mothers were also breast fed by the other mothers as far as possible. The formula milk was avoided in the camp because of its lower quality and poorer health benefits. Instead animal milk with higher quality was supplied. Similarly the children who were above 6 months were supplied with fortified foods to meet the necessary nutrients. Besides supplementary micro nutrients were also supplied along with the food to prevent nutritional disorders. Sanitation was also a major part of the emergency nutrition management. The sanitation and hygiene of the camp was maintained which helped in the prevention of various communicable diseases. The mothers were taught the healthy and hygienic feeding practices in the camp.
On April 25, 2015 a massive earthquake hit Barpak,Gorkha leading to a death toll of about…….. The earthquake had severe effects on the various aspects of lives of the people throughout the county. Destructions of buildings, houses ,bridges, hospitals, had made the lives harder. Another massive shock of the former earthquake was felt on 12 May 2015 which had a magnitude of 7.4 Richter scale and had an epicenter at Dolakha district. The total death toll of these massive earthquakes reached 8659 leaving about a million people injured. Many people were directly or indirectly affected by the earthquake . Among them the poorer condition was that of the women and children. There was a huge problem with the infants, neonates and the children feeding. Similarly the management of maternal and pregnant nutrition was also a problem of the local people.
A camp was established in the remote area of Sindhupalchwok district. The camp was conducted by a team of 12 people where I worked as the head nutrition manager. As a nutritionist it was my duty to fulfill the nutrition demand of the people in the camp. There were all together 8 tents which were divided for different age group of children. We mainly focused on the emergency nutrition of the infant young children and neonates. At first the mothers and their children were brought to the safe sides in the camp. The mothers and their children, pregnant women, infants, orphans were kept on different tents for better support and care. Different groups were helped in their respective ways. The relief camp was supposed by many NGOs, INGOs and some donor nations. Necessary materials, equipment were supplied by these bodies. Besides government had also shown it’s interest in the relief camp especially towards infant and young children feeding.
The camp was established especially for the emergency nutrition of the young children and the infants. The first step towards the infant and young children feeding was a proper plan. This was followed by the recording of the dates of the infants, neonates, young children ,mothers and pregnant women. Recording the datas made us easier to adopt the required measures for the proper management of the nutrition among these groups. This also helped us to make estimations of various things including the workforce
A team was set up with a definite goal and the work was started. The cooperation and support from various sectors, NGOs, INGOs, government and other sectors were welcomed in the management of the emergency nutrition. The UN had also played it’s role in infant and young children feeding in the emergency condition in the camp. It had provided us with the necessary materials, manpower and financial support. The best food for a baby is breast milk so the promotion of the exclusive breast feeding was done throughout the camp. The promotion was done throughout various was like delivering speeches, pamphlets distributions ,etc. Mothers were taught about the advantages of breast feeding over formula feeding. The children below 6 months were subjected to exclusive breast feeding. The children with diarrhoea and other GIT diseases were more benefitted with the breast milk. Besides breastfeeding also provided ease and comfort to the children. The lactating mothers were provided with enough food to provide milk for their children. They were highly encouraged to eat for their sake and their children’s sake. The breast fed children made remarkable progress in the camp. The mothers who breast fed their children also were benefitted by the lactation process. This also increased the emotional attachment between the mother and their children. Besides this also helped in improving the health of antenatal mothers. The children who lost their mothers were also present in the camp. Such children and infants were given extra care as they also required more emotional support. Some of the infants who lost their mothers to the quake were breast fed by some of the mothers in the camp. The rest were fed with high quality animal milk with precautions though this wouldn’t meet the nutritional requirements. However these children were also fed with breast milk to some extent. The major problem was handling these infants without mothers as there was no-one to look after them. The use of the formula milk was avoided as far as possible. Similarly the donated bottles, formula milks and things that were not good for infant feeding were avoided or were not used mainly due to their low quality and their adverse effects. Similarly the children who were above 6 months were provided with complimentary food. The foods included vegetables, rice, etc. These children were also provided with supplementary micro nutrition like iron., vitamin A, folic acid, etc. The children who were in the camp were also provided with the supplementary food like RUTF(Ready to use therapeutic food) and RUSF(Ready to use supplementary food) . These foods mainly contain all the necessary nutrients required by a child. The use of fortified food also played a significant role in the management of emergency nutrition in young children. Moreover, sanitation played a vital role in the management of the emergency nutrition. Without sanitation the goals wouldn’t be achieved. The hygienic practices in the camp kept a lot of communicable diseases away from the infants and the young children. The healthy feeding also had an important part in the emergency nutrition. Unhygienic feeding practice was avoided as far as possible. The mothers were also taught about sanitary practices during feeding the child. An awareness session was set among the mothers and the caretakers for the better management of the emergency nutrition.
Emergency nutrition compromises of the nutrition management of the infants and the young children. This explains how the nutrition demand of the young children can be fulfilled during emergencies. This is a major challenge during emergency conditions like natural disasters. The multisectoral collaboration is a must for the management of emergency nutrition.
Emergency nutrition management on infants and young children