Timor-Leste has a higher incidence of underweight children than either Ethiopia or Malawi.
It is possible to associate, in Timor-Leste, access to essential basic foods, as a determining factor for malnutrition amongst children under 5 years old, and their mothers, which include other diseases and the higher cost of basic essential foods enriched with proteins such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, fruits and rice, all essential to the children’s development.
Children are particularly vulnerable during the hungry season, where 47% under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition. Malnutrition weakens the immune system and can lead to a heightened risk of illness and disease. Research has shown that the effects of chronic malnutrition are irreversible if it left untreated by the time a child reaches two or three years of age.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Nutrition programs includes the provision of a basic integrated package consisting of community interventions such as nutrition screening, vitamin A supplementation, promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, treatment and nutritional rehabilitation of malnourished children, micronutrient supplementation, worming and growth monitoring.
In addition, nurses with mothers are involved in nutrition education activities, with practical demonstrations on how to prepare balanced meals and enriched on good hygiene practices and on health care for the most common diseases of childhood. It is an approach designed to comprehensively answer the major causes of child mortality, and promoting best practices in health care and nutrition for children within families.
The final results of the study will effectively enable national awareness on food safety and the value of healthy nutrition, in addition to contributing to boosting human, material and financial resources needed to implement strategies to combat malnutrition in the country.
Bairo Pite Clinic Lanud is one of the busiest health facilities in Timor Leste, treats around 600 malnourish kids each year through the three phases of management.
During the initial treatment phase, frequent feeding is important to prevent both hypoglycemia and hypothermia. Feeding during the initial treatment phase should be approached cautiously because of the fragility of the child’s physiological state. F75 should be given every 30 minutes for two hours, followed by F75 every two hours, day and night. Breastfed children should be encouraged to continue breastfeeding. Children with hypothermia should be rewarmed by being clothed, covered with a warmed blanket, placed near a heater or lamp, or placed on the mother’s chest (skin-to-skin) and covered.
Infections should be treated routinely upon admission by provision of a broad-spectrum antibiotic, and measles vaccination should be given for unimmunized children older than age six months.
Micronutrient deficiencies should be treated by giving vitamin A (200,000 international units [IU] for children older than age 12 months, 100,000 IU for children ages 6–12 months, and 50,000 IU for children ages 0–5 months), coupled with daily multivitamin, folic acid, zinc, and copper supplementation for at least two weeks. Iron supplementation should only be given once children have begun gaining weight.
During the rehabilitation phase, F75 should be replaced with F100 in the same amounts for 48 hours before increasing successive feeds by 10 milliliters until some remains unconsumed. If available, children could be transitioned from F75 to RUTF according to the WHO guidelines. Children’s respiratory and pulse rates should be monitored closely. After transition to F100, children should receive feedings consisting of 100–200 kcal/kg/d and 4–6 g protein/kg/d at least every four hours. Breastfeeding should continue to be encouraged.
After recovery, parents should be taught to feed children frequently with energy- and nutrient-dense foods and to continue to stimulate their children’s sensorial and emotional development. Parents should be requested to bring children back for regular follow-up checks. Vitamin A supplementation and booster immunizations should be provided.
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Formula 75 (F75) and formula 100 (F100) costs $7.00 for one child.