« Educating a child well is the work of the whole village ... » African proverb
This involves training community health workers, medical staff, traditional practitioners and birth attendants in such a way as to have in each village a person trained in the prevention, detection and initial treatment of noma. The training takes place in trickle-down fashion, starting at national level and cascading down through regional and sub-regional levels. Training is provided in agreement or actual collaboration with the health authorities of each country.
Materials such as boxes of photos, posters about noma and its prevention, guides to prevention, training manuals, cassettes, toothpaste and toothbrushes are deposited with the various trained personnel, so that they can in turn pass on to others the best means of prevention.
This involves developing and implementing simple information and education programs for parents, especially mothers, to enable them to recognize the precursory signs of noma, provide the initial treatment needed to stop the disease, and fight the deep-seated belief in curses. Under this heading are activities such as:
Assisting primary health care services to support patients. Facilitating access to primary care for populations furthest away from health centers and for the most disadvantaged.
Ensuring that the necessary products – antiseptics, antibiotics and nutritional supplements – are available and accessible.
Providing support for treatment by taking charge of prescriptions issued locally by health workers.
Organizing free medical examinations in schools.
Humanitarian medical centres offering care to the most deprived populations virtually free of charge (CCMP).
Reception centres to deal with acute cases of noma (antibiotherapy, local care, rehydration, hypercalorific diet).
Free examination of children’s mouths for screening purposes.
Distribution to pregnant women of local products with high nutritional value, to prevent malnutrition.
« Malnutrition is not diminishing, quite the contrary. Since 2012 it has reached levels never seen before, which is worrying. » comments Dr. Quere of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on the situation in Niger. Global warming, soil erosion, and insecurity (Boko Haram) are the main causes. It is now imperative for agencies at all different levels to tackle global poverty.
Fighting against malnutrition by implementing projects for the cultivation and distribution of spiraling.
Making nutritional supplements accessible (free distribution of enriched cereal bars or fortified porridge).
Distribution of spirulina to health workers during awareness sessions so that they can in turn distribute it to anaemic children or mothers.