Monday, July 15, 2013

Nutrition Program Expansion

Nutrition education by Pop Wuj students. 
Among the many programs that Pop Wuj administers, the Nutrition Program is the fastest growing, and now serves approximately 75 children in Llanos de Pinal, La Victoria, and Buena Vista.  

Thursday, July 11 was an expansion day for the Nutrition Program.  The principle aspects of the program are education and the provision of nutrient-rich Nutributter.  Monthly meetings include education and the distribution of vitamins, Nutributter, Incaparina.  The program is funded in large part by our partner, Timmy Global Health.

Last Thursday, we had the good fortune of having several of the Pop Wuj medical students put together a presentation on child nutrition, particularly focusing on what to feed children between 0-6 months, 6-12 months, and 1-2 years of age.  Importantly, the presentation also sought to remind parents that Nutributter is meant as a supplement, not as an entire diet by itself, no matter how old the child is.
Pop Wuj students explain appropriate food options for children over 1 year of age.
Following the presentation, the children were assessed for malnutrition, virtually ubiquitous in rural Guatemala, by taking measures including their weight, height, and head circumference.  These data points are recorded for future reference and graphed over time to help evaluate the effectiveness of the program.  

Families meet individually with the Pop Wuj doctors.
The mothers of the children are also interviewed to assess risk factors for child malnutrition related to poverty, including the number of people living in the home, living conditions, and the amount of money the family earns.  

While the group is rather large in Llanos de Pinal, with over 50 children enrolled, the groups in Buena Vista and La Victoria are considerably smaller.  The Buena Vista includes 15 children and La Victoria just four children.

Coupled with the Scholarship Program, Pop Wuj is doing truly amazing things to help give under-privileged Guatemalan children a legitimate chance at a healthy, impactful life.  For the mothers of these children who never had such opportunities, many of them growing up during Guatemala’s civil war, it is plain to see their gratitude as they sometimes have difficulty even placing a sufficient amount of food on the table for themselves and their children.  I believe I speak for all visitors of Pop Wuj when I say that it is truly a rewarding experience to have an opportunity to give our time and energy to such an incredibly worthy cause.

Carmen explains details of the Nutrition Program in Buena Vista.

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