A good day on the field as a health and nutrition mobile clinic team means we cater to all malnourished children aged 6- 59 months in the community visited. This means receiving patients referred by community health workers, cross-checking their nutritional status to validate them for admission, or treating basic to moderate illnesses where there is no malnutrition. The procedure of obtaining anthropometric measurements and using a Z-score board to decipher the child’s nutritional status can be cumbersome, and increase the error margin. On the other hand, some children are left unattended in very hard-to-reach or insecure areas. This, therefore, increases the rate of malnutrition and subsequent deaths which could be avoided if community health workers were empowered with a tool to facilitate the interpretation of anthropometric measurements. For a Humanitarian organization to provide adequate help to a community, an initial needs assessment should be done. In the domain of malnutrition, the Global Acute Malnutrition rate has to be sought. In these hard-to-reach or insecure areas, this assessment has not been successfully done. Approximations and extrapolations from communities slightly easier to penetrate have been used in the past, which do not give a true picture of the situation on-site. Beri-nut Nutrition Status Data Management Application bridges this gap, empowering community health workers to take anthropometric measurements and transmit correct interpretations for proper action to be taken, as well as facilitates interpretation of same for health personnel. This tool is to be used to collect, interpret, follow-up, and generate reports from screening data. This will curb the problem in obtaining assessment information and increase the quality of care given to children aged 6-59 months in the most vulnerable communities.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
In a country facing a civil war in one part of the nation, the most affected are children 0 to 5 years of age whose parents might either be dead or impoverished, thus unable to cover cost of basic feeding of their children, not to talk of cost of care at hospitals as some of these children get malnourished, nor the complications which later surface. According to SDG3, our intervention is an adequate contribution for healthy lives of under 5 children as this data collection tool highlights those necessitating health care, as well as provide progress status for children already admitted to the malnutrition program. Our data collection tool also covers SDG8, as the key users of this tool are hired from these struggling communities, therefore reducing the very high unemployment rates. Promoting nutrition as seen in SDG2, is amongst our primary aims of creating this tool, as supplementary and therapeutic foods are systematically provided for the under 5s according to the assessment of the z-score and MUAC readings of each child. UNICEF reports state that Severe Acute Malnutrition is responsible for 38% of deaths among children under age five in Cameroon. According to the UNICEF Sitrep of October 2020, 2195 under 5 children were accessed and classified as malnourished. If the application can be adopted by all implementing partners in all areas of unrest in Cameroon, there would be an exponential growth in the number of malnourished children accessed and saved.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
Our preferred business model for this application is Business to Consumer as the application is to be used by Humanitarian Organizations running health and nutrition programs. These consumers will use this application to obtain nutrition status data, necessary for implementation of all nutrition type projects. This will ensure more efficient screening within communities therefore increasing the number of children treated for malnutrition, as well as improve the implementing organizations output. These Organizations will purchase software subscription licenses, covering cost for production and running of the application. Beri-nut aims to grow into a nationwide used nutrition application. As at now, the prototype developed is being tested on the field. At this stage, Beri-nut is incurring all cost such that it may provide the best quality of the application to consumers. We will progress to the implementation stage, where Implementing Organizations ready to try it will test run it for a specific period of time, for which our developers will work tirelessly to modify the applications interface to suit each consumer. At the end of this period, the application will be launched commercially for subscription and expansion to other Organizations and Countries as need arises. Two offices are to be operational when Beri-nut subscriptions start multiplying to facilitate meetings. These offices will be opened in the areas where malnutrition has been prominent. A larger team will be constituted to comfortably engage consumers as need arises. As our final long-term goal, Beri-nut will establish a Foundation granting Health and Nutrition services to the communities in need free of charge.
I was born in Yaounde, Cameroon in August 1992. During my early academic life, I lived in Bamenda, in the North West Region of Cameroon. After high school I left my hometown for Pharmacy school in Yaounde, the Center Region. During my pharmacy school years, I developed a growing interest in first aid and CPR because of the increasing number of people who died as a consequence of ignorance regarding first aid principles. I became a CPR trainer and started providing a few trainings. With the evolution of the ‘Anglophone crisis’ in the North and South West Regions from 2016, the reports of increased hunger and poverty made every visit to the place I called home heart breaking. I started seeing and hearing of cases of malnourished children and wanted to help. With this new burning desire, once I graduated from school and got the opportunity to work in any nutrition related area, I embraced each opportunity, developing myself, receiving trainings and volunteering till I got my golden opportunity, working with a Health and Nutrition based Organization. While there, we were able to treat so many children and change their lives, and mine more than ever. My passion grew daily till I got frustrated by our security limits. Seeing and hearing of great health needs in some very hard to reach and insecure areas, made my team and I melt in sorrow as we were unable to carry out our required number of visits and follow up of these vulnerable children. The idea of simplifying screening such that the community health worker can comfortably move within their village, where access is limited, obtain and follow up malnourished children with direct assistance and instructions from the application and health care workers gave me a new purpose.