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How PHCs provide care for Borno malnourished children

Primary Health Centres (PHCs) have been deployed as an effective tool in fighting malnutrition in Borno State. The state has faced nutritional emergency due to…

Primary Health Centres (PHCs) have been deployed as an effective tool in fighting malnutrition in Borno State. The state has faced nutritional emergency due to the large number of children dying from malnutrition particularly among displaced persons in the state.
 The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) in  collaboration with the Primary Healthcare Centres have increased efforts towards providing healthcare services for thousands of malnourished children like those from Bama town in the state.
Daily Trust findings reveal that primary health centres in the state are now a beehive of activities as hundreds of patients throng  them weekly.
The Nutritional Focal Person of Gamboru Clinic in the Metropolis, Hadiza Shettima, said the centres deal with internally displaced persons especially those within host communities, adding that though those in the camps have clinics and health personnel, they sometimes referred cases to the centres.
 She said each health centre had designated days of the week to attend to patients, and that her centre attended to them on Fridays.
Shettima said over 40 patients were attended to at the centre on monthly since January 2016 with a few cases of mortality recorded.
 She added that patients were scouted for within the communities through teams of ad hoc staff who went round the communities to identify cases and send them to the clinic where they were screened based on their weight and Middle Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC).
 Those who fall below 11.5 reading of the MUAC tape were given Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) provided by UNICEF.
  Routine drugs are also administered such as antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs and micro-nutrients powder are included for malnourished children less than 23 months old.
Severe cases of malnutrition are referred to the State Specialist Hospital and Mamman Shuwa Hospital for further medical attention while other cases are managed at the primary healthcare centres.
 Shettima said the care ran for eight successive weeks before the children were discharged when there was a significant improvement in their condition. She urged patients not to default in coming to the clinic, and to also observe personal hygiene.
 Ya Hauwa Modu whose two-year-old son suffers from malnutrition said there was great improvement in his condition, adding, “He has added weight and has been growing within the three weeks I brought him here.”
 Similarly another mother, Fanta Ali, said she was glad she was directed to the primary health clinic as her child now ate well and was also adding weight.
 

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