By Cherno Omar Bobb
The National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) with support from the World Food Programme (WFP) through Japanese funding, on Thursday concluded a three-day step-down training for Multi-Disciplinary Facilitation Teams (MDFTs) on basic nutrition.
The training workshops held in Mansakonko in Lower River Region, Bansang in Central River Region and Basse in Upper River Region, brought together cluster monitors, forestry officers, community development agents, community health nurses, public health officials, social workers, area council officials among others.
The training was aimed at equipping participants with basic nutrition knowledge especially on infant and young child feeding, maternal nutrition, exclusive breastfeeding, among others.
Fa Bakary Bass, Nutrition field coordinator at the National Nutrition Agency said the mixture of participants goes to show how cross cutting nutrition is, adding that every sector has a stake in nutrition. He added that participants live in communities and work with the grassroots and will disseminate the information learnt with their respective communities when they return so that parents are equipped with basic knowledge to be able to know the types of food to prepare for their children and the types of diets pregnant women should eat, among others basic nutrition.
Saikou Drammeh, nutrition field officer at URR under NaNA said the feedback from participants is promising and as such they are confident that when they return to their communities or work places they will be able to relay the message to the people they are serving.
Alieu Kujabi, principal programme officer at NaNA said people’s attitude to adapt to healthy eating is challenging but added that they believe that with time, “we will get there because they are continuously engaging people.”
He highlighted that they have registered success on nutrition and hope to build on it. “We want to see the Gambia free of malnutrition and will never relent until we achieve our objective,” he stated.
Alpha Sowe, regional health promotion and education officer for CRR under the ministry of health said malnutrition had been a problem in the country and as such the training is important to ensure they go back to their respective communities and educate people on basic nutrition.
Kebba Daffeh, regional senior nursing officer for LRR described basic nutrition as a key founding area for human life, saying when you lack nutrition you experience challenges.
He added that most of these challenges come from grassroots and needs to be combated by training people who have direct contact with people at the grassroots.
He noted that in The Gambia most people believe that when you eat and your stomach is full, then you are healthy but he said that is not the case. According to him, people need to eat balanced diets to be healthy.
Musa Dahaba, senior programme officer at NaNA said not one department or ministry can do it alone as nutrition is a cross cutting issue. He highlighted that the more communities are engaged on nutrition the better the country’s population will live healthier, adding that to reduce malnutrition in the country “we need to engage people from different works of life in ensuring they receive the right information.”