By Colleen Barilae – EM TV News, Lae
PNG’s News Department, in collaboration with UNICEF, has embarked on training programs for health workers in the hope of fighting malnutrition in PNG.
The trainings are a component of a United Nations declaration earlier this month on a Decade of Action on Nutrition from 2016 to 2025.
News worker training held in Lae this week has highlighted some of the objectives knitted within this declaration.
The Department of News has started rolling out training programs to up-skill health workers in aims of addressing malnutrition for the next 10 years.
This initiative supported by UNICEF, involved community health workers from nine districts within Morobe, along with pediatricians and nutritionists from other centres including Bougainville and Goroka.
Helen Paik, the News Department’s Nutrition Technical Officer, says PNG remains a global community within UNICEF’s development goals, which calls for action on malnutrition.
“With the scale out of nutrition in the world, PNG with the support of UNICEF is doing this training as much as possible to get the astounding rates down, by addressing malnutrition on specific populations of children under the age of five,” Paik said.
The training also touched on some of the treatment areas, including use of a new malnutrition therapy, introduced in 2014 and rolled out in all hospitals.
Over the last five years, malnutrition rates in the Momase region have not decreased; Angau Hospital in Lae has reported death cases of children between the ages of 0 to 18.
Deputy Chief Pediatrician for Momase Region, Dr. Theresia Rongap, pointed out some of the facts in the hospital reports presented to the health department.
“We find that roughly between 26 and 27 per cent of children admitted to the hospital die of severe acute malnutrition. Our Malnutrition rate at Angau Hospital remain about the same in the severe form, that’s probably over about 300 per year.” Dr. Rongap said.
Some of the malnutrition treatment that the News Department is pushing to have is currently included in the government’s budget, for support.