Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Complementary Feeding Sessions

Since we have finished up the last of our Family Nutrition Seminars, we started giving Complementary Feeding sessions for mothers with babies between the ages of 6 months and 2 years old. We're teaching the World Health Organization's recommendations for introducing solid foods to babies at 6 months. This is a topic I didn't know a single thing about when I got here, which makes the giving the seminars a little more nerve racking. We've spent hours doing research and reading papers and preparing the presentation so I do know the material, but it's hard to stand in front of a group of mothers with babies, and likely more kids at home, and tell them how to feed their kids when I am obviously childless.

Our first attempt to give the session was the Wednesday before we went to Masai Mara, but no mothers showed up at the hospital so we couldn't give the session. On Monday, we had our make-up session, and after waiting around for an hour and a half, we were finally able to present to the 6 mothers that showed up. 6 is better than nothing but we're used to giving presentations to 100+ women at the schools and 30+ at the Women's Groups so 6 was pretty disappointing. Unfortunately, the nurse who was translating didn't actually repeat what we said, she just let us talk for one sentence and then began to tell the mothers completely different things in Kimeru. She is used to teaching the mothers this information, so I think she felt she knew more than we did, or that she could explain it better to the mothers than we could. She obviously has knowledge on the subject, but the hospital uses an outdated version of the WHO recommendations so there were some differences between what we were trying to teach and what she was telling the mothers. It was extremely frustrating. We had prepared an hour long presentation but she told us to keep it no longer than 30 minutes, so we ended up having to do a really short version with way less detail than we would have liked. Long story short, we left the hospital furious at how poorly the presentation went. Our work here is supposed to be community focused but we've taken on 4 extra sessions at the hospital to teach mothers about complementary feeding at the hospital's request, however we feel more like inconveniences at the hospital than helpful.

Our first complementary feeding session with the women's groups was yesterday with the Ruuju Women's Group. The nurses had a planned-at-the-last-minute blood pressure clinic the same day which was slightly annoying. They had about half the group show up to the clinic, but since the clinic was the same day as our presentation, no mothers came for our presentation. Our session wasn't even announced to the community like it was supposed to be because the blood pressure clinic had so many short notice arrangements to be made since they only had about a week's notice it was happening. We waited for about an hour and no more mothers showed up, but the blood pressure clinic ended and the nurses left. The women from the clinic ended up staying but with the exception of maybe one or two, they were not mothers of young children. We ended up giving the presentation anyways but not to the target population or people who we felt were all that relevant to the content of the presentation. I guess it's better than nothing, and we're hoping that they will share what they learned with other women in the community but once again, it was very frustrating.

These infant sessions seem to be a little bit cursed. We only have 2 left and so far not a single session has gone as well as we had hoped. We're crossing our fingers that our session with the Muchui Women's Group goes much better tomorrow.

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