I am the Nutrition Advisor for the mission in Gao. I am in charge of implementing nutrition projects on the ground, organising financial and logistical arrangements and managing relations with technical services, community health organisations and state organisations. I also undertake advocacy on nutrition issues with communities and authorities and monitor nutritional data. Furthermore, I identify new projects to combat malnutrition and document learnings from previous projects.
I have been working for ACF for 7 years and 5 months in a number of different areas including: primary health care, maternal health and the health of infants, HIV/AIDS and projects which aim to strengthen the capacity of local organisations to combat acute malnutrition in the Gao region.
The region is characterised by high rates of malnutrition. A recent survey undertaken by ACF indicated General Acute Malnutrition to be 18% and Severe Acute Malnutrition to be 2.5% (Ansongo, Gao - June 2010). Surveys have also shown that poor feeding practices are rife in the region despite sensitisations in market gardening and in health centres.
Malnutrition is not recognised as an illness at the community level despite the presence of community health workers and state health services rarely include nutrition activities. Communities also experience shortages in supply of key medicines and medical equipment despite ACF holding buffer stocks at its base.
Basic food prices are high, rains are more delayed than ever and floods happen annually. The population is more and more vulnerable to climatic risks.
The In-patient and Out-patient Nutrition Recuperation Centres which we operate have exceeded the targets set by the government.