When you see children with big heads, protruding tummies, and thin legs and arms, one thing comes into your mind – malnutrition. However, the health implications of malnutrition go beyond disfigured and stunted growth of children.

In all of its forms, malnutrition includes undernutrition (wasting, stunting, and being underweight), insufficient vitamins and minerals, being overweight or obese, and developing diet-related non-communicable diseases. Overweight or obese adults account for 1.9 billion, while underweight individuals account for 462 million. In 2020, it was anticipated that 149 million children under the age of five were stunted (too short for their age), 45 million were wasted (too thin for their height), and 38.9 million were overweight or obese. Undernutrition is responsible for around 45 per cent of mortality among children under the age of five. These are especially common in low and middle-income countries. At the same time, childhood overweight and obesity rates are rising in these same countries.

Nigeria has the world’s second-highest burden of stunted children, with a national prevalence rate of 32% of children under five. In Nigeria, an estimated 2 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), and 7% of women of reproductive age suffer from acute malnutrition.

Clementina Chinyere Donny, a serial social and community change agent, saw Malnutrition for what it is – a monster that has bedevilled the socio-economic development of her community and decided to do something about it.

Clementina is a Pharmacology graduate from the University of Lagos. The 32-year-old currently works as an Administrator and is passionate about good health and well-being for all, especially for mothers and children.

She launched the “No To Malnutrition” project under the aegis of DO-Take Action to promote health guidelines for children’s nutrition and created awareness about the long-term consequences of dietary practices that may cause or prevent health problems in the future a child. The project which she carried out in Dunamis church Bucknor, Isolo Lagos, falls under Good Health and Wellbeing program; a DO program that addresses key challenges in the health care sector by carrying out advocacy campaigns, health outreaches, capacity building workshops and community infrastructure projects that will ultimately improve quality of health care and impact at least 10 million Nigerians over the next ten years.

The project was carried out at Bucknor Isolo, Lagos state. The details of the projects entailed the following;

  •   A keynote presentation on the following topics; What is Malnutrition? Various Forms of Malnutrition includes Undernutrition, micro-nutrient related Malnutrition, overweight and Obesity, diet-related non-communicable diseases and lastly, how to prevent Malnutrition.
  •   An interactive session where the participants asked questions and were given informed answers
  •       A self-assessment test to evaluate the women on their understanding of what has been taught to ensure comprehension and assimilation

In the course of the project, a minimum of 20 local community parents were sensitised to the dangers of Malnutrition and taught how to improve their nutrition. A good number of the participants scored above average on the No To Malnutrition test.

Clementina Chinyere Donny capitalised on her medical background to educate and support pregnant and expectant mothers in her community. Learn from her.

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