Don’t Reinvent the Wheel in Fighting Extreme Poverty
“Freshly Stolen From the Water Front”
This is another odd phrase that has stuck with me through the years. The original statement, or rather – advertisement, was literal and in reference from a few pairs of sunglasses (of the highest quality) stolen from the Victoria and Albert Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. While living in South Africa we got a good laugh at the blunt proclamation of illicit activity. Since then it has taken has strangely morphed into a light-hearted, but functional analogy for anything of consequence being borrowed or utilized from an inspiring source.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of this memorable aphorism when I was first introduced to Nuru, an organization that prides itself on being a general contractor of experts, rather than a non-profit that reinvents the wheel. Nuru knows there are several effective methods of fighting extreme poverty specific to our 5 program areas already in existence and seeks to partner with them – an activity one could hardly consider criminal. As mentioned in my last entry, we have contracted Safe Water System training and commodities out to notorious experts at PSI Kenya. In fact, this week we successfully distributed WaterGuard to our CHWs (Community Health Workers) to sell to their community and are eager to see how fast our first supply will fly out of our storage area.
We are also taking specific steps toward strategic communication and simplification of our messages. Therefore have made a programmatic shift to dedicating a specific amount of time to one disease or health topic per month. November will be geared toward prevention of diarrheal diseases with the main tool being WaterGuard.
Next in line for December will be Nutrition. In lieu of October’s Maternal and Child Health Day we have supported the completion of the Ministry of Health’s ‘Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition’ training for the clinic and hospital staff in our catchment area and those to which we are expanding. The objectives of this training were to teach staff how to:
- Identify patients affected by moderate and severe acute malnutrition
- Manage moderate acute malnutrition by applying standard protocols
- Know the requirements and procedures in setting up a program to manage moderate acute malnutrition
Once the Commodity management system is put in place, the trained clinics and hospitals will be recipients of USAID funded Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) or Fortified Blended Flours (FBF). We will then have a subsequent training for our CHWs, who will in turn be the eyes and ears of the clinic. They will be equipped to identify and refer patients to receive food therapy free of cost.
In Kenya the management of moderate acute malnutrition strategies are linked to the National Health Programs, specifically incorporated in the Mother and Child Health Programs (MCH). This structure, along with the curriculum used for our training, was created in part by the USAID Nutrition and HIV Program (NHP). The NHP funds the Food by Prescription (FBP) Services. The goal of which is to build capacity of health providers through training, job aids, strengthened monitoring and supportive supervision, and enhanced community linkages.
On average, the project supplies about 120 metric tons of fortified blended foods per month to health facilities. Currently more than 380 health care providers have been trained in FBP services are prescribing and dispensing therapeutic food. Now we can add ours to the list!