Child Care Best Practices : Tello Adopts Exclusive Breastfeeding, Enriched Diet
The locality in Vina Division of Adamawa Region sees the high participation of both men and women at enriched pap demonstration exercises.
Unlike many communities in the country, most of the 5,000 inhabitants of Tello village, located 110 km from Ngaoundere, headquarters of Cameroon’s Middle Belt Adamawa Region, are fairly accustomed to taking proper care of their babies. “An increasing number of nursing mothers have adopted enriched or “five-star” pap as diet for their babies after six months of exclusive breastfeeding,” explained Tiessu Marie Claire.
A Nursing Aid, Tiessu, who heads Tello Integrated Health Centre, received a group of journalists in her centre on September 6, 2019. Her assertion could not have been better illustrated than during the practicum of enriched pap preparation held in the health centre the same day. The event was massively attended by at least 40 men, some 35 women and not less than 40 children. Thanks largely to the mobilisation capacity – at short notice - of the devoted local town crier, Mohammadou Laminou.
Prior to the pap preparation practicum, American Peace Corps Volunteer, Fanning Lin, did an interactive lesson on balanced diet entitled, “Suudu Nyamndu” or “The food house.” Using a picture chart with food items, the lesson presented the different classes of food. “Good diet is like a house that is made up of different parts - the foundation, walls and roof,” Lin explained, speaking intermittently in French, Fulfulde, and at times using a Fulfulde interpreter.
According to her, the foundation represents carbohydrates or energy food; the walls stand for protein food items that give strength; while the roof is made up of vegetables and fruits that protect the body and offer vitamins. “Each dish must contain all three elements to be balanced,” Lin concluded.
For now, Tiessu Marie Claire is the only State employee of the health centre, like it is the case with most such health facilities in the country. The centre currently (in September 2019) manages 13 Severe Acute Malnutrition cases, most of them from parents who have taken refuge in Tello from attacks by heavily armed kidnappers in surrounding communities. The common diseases in the village are malaria, pulmonary infections, typhoid, Sexually-transmissible Diseases, STDs, Tiessu disclosed.