Nutrition centers are crucial resources for pregnant and nursing women in Guinea, where access to basic social services is limited. At one such center in Matoto, a district in Conakry, local staff assess the nutritional status of women and their children upon their first visit. The upper-arm circumference of this boy indicates that he is severely malnourished.
A child’s body size is another important indicator of nutritional health; chronic undernutrition can lead to stunted growth. The health center’s coordinator, Sira Sylla (center), and her team carefully measure the boy’s height in the second step of his evaluation. His height and weight are both measured against the averages for children of his age.
The first 1,000 days of a life – from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday – are crucial for the physical and cognitive development of a child. WFP focuses on preventing chronic and moderate acute malnutrition during that window, supporting 11,350 children, in addition to 5,800 pregnant and nursing women in Guinea.
Young mother Foulématou receives a package of Super Cereal Plus, a special high-protein food fortified with vitamins and minerals and specially designed for children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. A friend advised Foulématou to visit the nutrition center after seeing how weak and small her child was. She has now been coming to the center every week for the past month and the effects of the nutritional support become more and more visible.
Adama Hawa (center, in green) teaches women at the nutrition center how to cook Super Cereal, a fortified blend of maize and soy flour that is used to treat malnourished pregnant and nursing women. The specialized nutrition product is mixed on-site with enriched vegetable oil and sugar.
At the Saint Gabriel center, which is also located in Conakry's Matoto district, women and children receive care tailored to their nutritional situation. Marie Louise, on the right, advises women with moderately malnourished children. Her colleagues provide support to visitors with severe and chronic malnutrition.
In addition to nutritional support, the center in Matoto also advises mothers on postnatal child care and health. This mother’s child has had trouble breastfeeding, and she is learning what she can do to help her baby get enough milk.
These twins come every week to the nutrition center with their aunt, who has cared for them since they lost their mother. Maternal mortality is still very high in Guinea, at 980 per 100,000 live births. The supplementary food the twins receive at the nutrition center helps their aunt provide the nutrition they need to lead healthy lives.
29 June 2011 WFP in Guinea