On November 9 and 10, 2017, two scientific symposiums were held in Yaoundé and Douala to mark the end of the training of 106 Cameroonian healthcare professionals in the postgraduate program in pediatric nutrition at the prestigious Boston University Medical School in the United States. They were part of 650 professionals trained across Central and West Africa. The graduation ceremony took place in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, and the Ministry of Higher Education.
The goal of this online training, financed by the Nestle Nutrition Institute Africa (NNIA), is to improve knowledge and competence of the healthcare professionals in the field of nutrition. Thus, 106 pediatricians and general practitioners from all areas of Cameroon were trained on the role of nutrition in optimal growth and immunity, deficiencies in micronutrients, nutritional management of diarrhea in children, and pediatric obesity. There is a plan to bring these courses to more than 10,000 more infant healthcare professionals over the course of the next three years.
The goal of this program is to equip doctors so that they can better advise parents on practices and food behaviors to adopt to meet the specific nutritional needs of the child. It should make it possible to improve the indicators related to nutrition and health. In Cameroon, the nutritional status of the population, in general, and of children, in particular, remains alarming. According to official figures, one child in three suffers from malnutrition, and three children in ten show delayed growth.
“This program constituted an unparalleled contribution for me personally and for the institution in which I practice,” stated Dr. Ndap, general physician in the pediatric department of the Laquintinie Hospital in Douala. “We are regularly confronted with several malnutrition problems in children, including kwashiorkor and marasmus. We were not equipped to deal with these cases and we lost too many children due to our lack of knowledge. The training allowed me to acquire the necessary knowledge to treat this problem and to share it with the pediatric department teams,” she concluded.
“Through this program, the Institute wants to contribute to reinforcing nutritional training and equipping the medical system with effective skills in this field,” said Thomas Caso, the Managing Director of Nestle Cameroon. “It is in direct line with our goal of enabling individuals and families to live a healthier and happier life, notably by helping more than 50 million children to live in better health between now and 2030,” he added.
The NNIA is a non-profit organization that brings support to healthcare professionals through various programs to reinforce their skills in health and nutritional knowledge. It makes available to scientists, researchers and other recipients in the field of nutrition current information on nutrition and disorders of nutritional origin, in order to permanently improve patient care and knowledge based on the most recent medical and scientific progress.