Prevalence of mulnutruition and training interventions for mothers in South Sudan (a case study of Malakai county)
Yata, Jackeline Simon
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Malnutrition is a prevalent challenge in South Sudan and training interventions for mothers to address this challenge are in place in various counties. The purpose of the study was to assess the nutritional training interventions for mothers aimed at mitigating malnutrition among children in South Sudan. The objectives of the study were to identify and assess the nutrition training interventions for mothers being carried out in Dengershufu Payam in Malakai County; to establish the critical measures put in place to reduce malnutrition, and to establish appropriate training options for curtailing the prevalence of malnutrition. The data collection methods employed in the study were qualitative in nature; and the research instruments used were interview guide, Focus Group Discussion (FGD) guide and the observation checklist. Results showed that, there were various players in designing training intervention programmes for mothers in South Sudan; these included; the Government of South Sudan (GOSS), UNICEF, and NGOs. UNICEF taking the leading role. The results also revealed, that the measures used in mitigating malnutrition in Dengershufu Payam include; community sensitizations, awareness, promotion of exclusive breastfeeding and support for breast feeding mothers: encourage pregnant mothers to attend ANC visits and hygiene promotion. During the study I realized that, the training was helpful in making mothers aware and responsive to the challenges posed by malnutrition, however the training alone would not be sufficient enough to combat the problem of malnutrition without empowering mothers with means to earn in order to afford the diet. In regards to the finding the following recommendations were made: that nutrition education needs to be added in the school curriculum so as to empower future mothers and fathers with malnutrition preventive measures. Nutrition training curricula in south Sudan should be modularized according to the needs of mothers. The training should be flexible in accordance with the existing lifestyles of the people of South Sudan and pedagogical approaches to vocational training. Nutrition training curricula for mothers should be made more practical; it should use more of the visual teaching aids such as diagrams, posters, demonstrations, videos recordings, models, role playing, models cooking classes and audio visual communication rather than the usual theoretical approaches to teaching and learning. Public private partnerships (PPPs) with other stakeholders and sectors such as agriculture, health, education, media and NGOs should jointly carry out training so as not to send mixed or contradictory messages. In line with pedagogical approaches, nutrition training for mothers should be conducted in learning groups and teams so that the difficult learning tasks are shared and understood by all; tools, equipment and materials should be sufficient and up-to-date; given the cultural and gender power relations in Africa and South Sudan, where men traditionally control resources and are assumed to be the bread winners, they should also be involved in the training.