Within the framework of the FRESAN Programme, on Wednesday 15 February, a delegation of two ambassadors from the European Union and the ambassadors of ten member states* visited the Chiulo Hospital and the adjoining waiting room, in southern Angola, where they were welcomed by Marta Piccolo, CUAMM area coordinator and project manager, and the FRESAN Programme coordinator for the Camões Institute.
The FRESAN Programme (Fortalecimento da Resiliência e da Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional em Angola) is financed by the European Union and partly managed by the Camões Institute for Portuguese Cooperation. Doctors with Africa CUAMM supports the implementation of maternal and child health and nutrition promotion activities, with the aim of improving the adoption of good nutritional and hygiene practices in the municipalities of Ombadja.
“It was a very important opportunity. We gave a snapshot of the activities carried out in the municipality,” says Marta Piccolo. “The project is structured on three levels: the community level, the level of peripheral health units and the hospital level. In the communities, we work with a network of 120 traditional midwives and community health workers committed to raising awareness and monitoring the nutritional status of women and children and the obstetrical risks of pregnant women. Together with the Municipal Health Directorate, we work in 33 villages, through mobile brigades. The services provided are vaccinations for children under five and women of childbearing age, prenatal check-ups for pregnant women, nutritional monitoring and the referral of malnourished children to special centres. At the health centre level, Cuamm supports 5 peripheral centres that offer outpatient services for the management of malnutrition. Finally, at hospital level, we support the Special Nutrition Unit and the Maternity Waiting Home for pregnant women who are about to give birth. In one year of the project, more than 3,000 sensitisation sessions were carried out in the communities, almost 7,000 children received nutritional screening, almost 2,000 antenatal visits were made and 66 health technicians were trained on integrated malnutrition management”.
The director of the Provincial Health Directorate of the Province of Cunene and the director of the Chiulo Hospital thanked CUAMM, which has been supporting the hospital for years by sending doctors, training and logistics that this project has extended to more distant areas.
The special Paediatric Nutrition Unit was also presented, where cases of severe acute malnutrition with complications are admitted. “The southern part of the country is going through a complicated situation because of the drought. December and January are the most difficult months because stocks from the previous season run out and people are anxiously awaiting the arrival of new rains for a new harvest,” stressed the head of the department. Unfortunately, mothers often accompany their children in an already very serious condition because they cannot move earlier, having to take care of the family and the land. The mothers themselves often suffer from malnutrition, which is why they also receive food aid while their children are in hospital”.
It was noted that the nutritional status of the children taken care of in the peripheral health centres was worsening due to the distribution of their nutritional supplements among all family members. The project aims to mitigate this issue by providing vulnerable families with food aid kits. At the time of the visit, there were three young patients admitted and EU Ambassador Jeanette Seppen stopped by for a few extra minutes to visit them.
The Maternity Waiting House adjacent to the hospital in Chiulo is currently hosting around forty women, accompanied by their mothers and children. Each month, the pregnant women hosted participate in sessions promoting good dietary and hygiene practices, and on risks during pregnancy and safe childbirth. The ambassadors attended a cooking demonstration organised by the team of CUAMM nurses, and were also shown where and how the women receive their first visits while waiting to be admitted to the hospital’s maternity ward, which CUAMM supports, thanks to the presence of a gynaecologist, a gynaecology registrar and a midwife.
Ambassadors: Jeannette Seppen e Pablo Mazarrasa (European Union), Stefan Traumann (Germany), Manuel Lejarreta (Spain), Lotta Karlsson (Finland), Daniel Vosgien (France), Zsolt Maris (Hungary), Tsjeard Hoekstra (The Netherlands), Piotr Mysliwiecz (Poland), Pedro Costa e Pessoa (Portugal), Florin Tudorie (Romania), Ewa Polano (Sweden).
This article has been produced with the financial support of the European Union. The contents are the sole responsibility of Doctors with Africa CUAMM and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.