14 November 2017

Cameroon: Overcoming Poor Nutrition

One child out of three suffers from malnutrition and three children in ten show delayed growth.

More than 100 healthcare professionals have been further trained on pediatric nutrition on November 9 and 10, 2017. The training follows two scientific symposiums that were held in Douala and Yaounde to mark the end of the training of 106 Cameroonian healthcare professionals in the postgraduate programme in pediatric nutrition at the prestigious Boston University Medical School in the United States.

They were a part of 650 professionals trained across Central and West Africa.

The goal of this Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa online training, financed by the Nestle Nutrition Institute Africa (NNIA), is to improve knowledge and competence of the healthcare professionals in the field of nutrition.

Thus, 106 pediatricians and general practitioners from all areas of Cameroon were trained on the role of nutrition in optimal growth and immunity, deficiencies in micronutrients, nutritional management of diarrhea in children, and pediatric obesity.

The graduation ceremony took place at the hotel Falaise in Douala in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, and the Ministry of Higher Education.

According to NNIA representatives there is a plan to bring these courses to more than 10,000 more infant healthcare professionals in the next three years.

The programme's goal is to equip doctors so that they can better advise parents on practices and food behaviours to adopt to meet the specific nutritional needs of the child.

It should make it possible to improve the indicators related to nutrition and health. In Cameroon, the nutritional status of the population and of children remains below expectation. According to official figures, one child in three suffers from malnutrition, and three children in ten show delayed growth.

"This programme constituted an unparalleled contribution for me personally and for the institution in which I practice," stated Dr. Ndap, general physician in the Pediatric Department of the Laquintinie Hospital in Douala.

"We are regularly confronted with several malnutrition problems in children, including kwashiorkor and marasmus. We were not equipped to deal with these cases and we lost too many children due to our lack of knowledge. The training allowed me to acquire the necessary knowledge to treat this problem and to share it with the Pediatric Department teams," she revealed.

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