Home Child Matter Double Burden Of Parents With Malnourished Children In Wamakko, By Yusuf Ozi-Usman

Double Burden Of Parents With Malnourished Children In Wamakko, By Yusuf Ozi-Usman

malnourished-children-and-mothersFor most of the people, especially women living in remote villages far from medical centres, it is not only malnutrition that has been devastating their children, and to some extent, even women themselves, but the difficulty in accessing health centres in which they can seek for help to come out of the ailment.
More often, access to the health centres constitute another burden to the point of discouraging mothers from taking the first step of seeking immediate help for their malnourished children.
For instance, most of the sufferers of malnutrition in Gidan Habibu village in Wamakko local government council of Sokoto state and its environs, are facing the challenge of transportation to the nearest centre, i.e. a dispensary for Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAN), funded by European Commission for Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and managed by International Medical Corps.
To start with, malnutrition is a health condition which saps the energy of the sufferer and weakens the function of vital organs in the body. Malnutrition, in most cases, is not caused by lack of food to eat, but is caused sometime by not eating the right food at the right time, according to medical and nutritional experts.
Experts further said that a malnourished child has many chances of contacting all sort of diseases as the immune deficiency is high. It is also believed that even a nursing mother can fall victim of malnutrition, making her breast milk to be affected, especially in quantity.
And in the aforementioned Gidan Habibu in Wamakko local government area of Sokoto state, many nursing mothers have to trek for over an hour to be able to access Gidan Habibu Dispensary. By the time such women, with their malnourished babies strapped to their backs, arrived at the Dispensary after trekking that far, sometime in hot sun, they too would have fagged out and fallen into the category of malnutrition.
To worsen the situation, the structure in which the malnourished ‘patients’ are being attended to in this area is very dilapidated. The walls are sagging, threatening to fall apart any moment. The painting on the wall has virtually washed off even as big cracks are visible in all parts of the structure. It is not surprising that its archaic zink leaks whenever it rains, thereby exposing the sickly babies and their mothers to added health danger.
Except for the voluntary workers, who appear to be enjoying the job of attending to and treating the malnourished children and some of their mothers, there is nothing encouraging about the centre, which gives a clear impression of neglect by the government.
Of course, the Sokoto state Commissioner of Health, Dr. Balarabe Shehu Kakale had said, when he addressed media men and women who attended a UNICEF’s two-day interactive session on children malnutrition, that the state has woken up to the reality of the danger posed by malnutrition and had voted huge amount of money in the budget to control it, a great lot of work still need to be done to arrest the fast drift of the tomorrow’s leaders into oblivion, no thanks to malnutrition.
There is of course, the danger in an attempt by the government, which is just waking up to the reality of the situation regarding malnutrition, the national and International Donour Agencies trying to solve child malnutrition in this particular area with little attention paid to the havoc being caused to the nursing mothers as result of the long distance trekking that is likely to create another challenge on its own.
As a matter of fact, the larger picture is that there might be the tendency of the mothers nursing malnourished children refusing, for no fault of theirs, to access the centre, thereby denying the children the benefit of enjoying the facilities and therefore, dying unnecessarily.
Considering the life-time effect of malnutrition on the children, their growth and the negative effect on the nation itself, it is not asking too much for the government at all levels to create special task force to address the challenges. This is one of the ways of checking malnutrition and therefore, insuring the future of our children. [myad]