Cameroon: Malnutrition Management - the Indispensable Role of Community Volunteers

Lonkaou Charlotte is always there to offer timely life-saving advice to over 30 nursing mothers under her charge in Tello village.

She is one of the Community Health Volunteers, CHVs serving with Tello Integrated Health Centre in Vina Division, Adamawa Region. "I have been volunteer on nutrition since February 2019. Today, I am in charge of more than 30 women in a neighbourhood in Tello. I visit them every two weeks," said Lonkaou Charlotte, also a polio eradication volunteer. Her tasks include counselling women on proper nutritional practices. She remembers the case of baby Abdoul Akiou whom she diagnosed in the family home with Severe Acute Malnutrition. "He was referred to Tello Integrated Health Centre for care, but ended up relapsing twice because of the negligence of the mother," Lonkaou remembers. But she did not give up offering her counsel to the mother on what next to do to save the baby's life. "I visited the family several times and it finally paid off. Today, Abdoul Akiou is a healthy two-year-old," the volunteer disclosed with a smile of fulfilment. "Often, I need to visit some nursing mothers four or even five times to repeat the same counsel before they adopt the right nutritional practices," Lonkaou admitted. The 32-year-old said she loves her job as a Community Health Volunteer, but faces a few challenges: "In order to increase my output, I would like to have more financial means to assist poor nursing mothers who are unable to properly feed their children," she concluded.

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