With more than half of Ethiopians suffering from chronic malnutrition, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has funded programmes to train trainers at three Ethiopian medical schools, adding nutrition to the expertise of more than 100 medical professionals so far this year, the agency said today.
A group of UN experts, including two UNICEF consultants, along with government employees and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) developed an Ethiopian protocol for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) during a crisis in 2002 and 2003.
The UNICEF training programme gives participants practical experience in dealing with such cases, using therapeutic feeding units (TFUs), the agency said.
Since January, 41 nurses, 12 physicians and 54 medical interns had been trained in using the national protocol at universities in Addis Ababa, Gondar and Jimma, UNICEF said, while 201 professionals from health clinics, health care NGOs and medical schools have received training in managing therapeutic feeding centres.
The SAM protocol has been extremely effective in reducing the fatality rate of children treated for severe malnutrition to less than 5 per cent, UNICEF said.