Jharkhand: A day in the field

Hello. Welcome to Jharkhand!

I’m Stenshila Hembrom, an MSF nurse working in Chakradharpur, Jharkhand. MSF teams provide medical care to children with severe acute malnutrition in the state, which is a major problem in Jharkhand.

Today, I will show you around my workplace. 

The field team’s day starts at 7.30 AM. Teams assemble at the office to collect medical supplies for the field.

We leave at 8AM for the outpatient feeding centres, where Anganwaadis, Sahiyas & other health workers meet us alongside children & their parents.

Today, we are visiting the Lonjho Ambulatory Therapeutic Feeding Centre (ATFC).

This MSF-run outpatient feeding centre is set up in a tent. The only way parents could reach us is by walking for 3-5 km with their children.

Walking in scorching heat for kilometres is not an easy task. As soon as these children reach the centre, we make them drink sugar with water which helps in keeping them hydrated. And then we move to our next step

The nurses measure weight & height of both child & parent. Now comes the most important step! We measure child’s arm with a MUAC band – Mid Upper Arm Circumference.

If the child is malnourished, we go to the next step. If not, we counsel parents about health & nutrition.

Good hygiene is crucial to protect children from all kinds of diseases & infections. MSF health educators show parents & children how to wash hands properly before feeding therapeutic food to the child.

Proper counselling of parents is key to ensuring children stick to the treatment and complete it. 

MSF health educators counsel parents about the importance of taking nutritious food, breastfeeding, use of mosquito nets, and maintaining a hygienic lifestyle.

Severely malnourished children are prone to other diseases, so the MSF doctor does a full medical check-up. If needed, the child is referred to the district hospital.

Thankfully, this kid will recover from malnutrition without having to go to the hospital.

But this is just the first visit.  These mother and child will see us again for a follow-up check-up.

The people of Jharkhand may not know about MSF’s work but now they know about severe acute malnutrition. At the end of the day, parents leave the clinic with a hope for a healthy future for their children. And that’s what matters the most to me.

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