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High malnutrition alarms Church

Cases among women and children rising as family behavior fails to improve

High malnutrition alarms Church
Women in Belu being taught how to handle malnutrition in their villages
Fransiskus P. Seran, Nela

April 8, 2011

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A Church-run association in Belu district, East Nusa Tenggara, organized a training session for people dealing with malnutrition cases in the area. Twenty-eight people from two villages with the highest cases of malnutrition joined the program, which finished yesterday, in Emmaus Community House in Nela, co-host by the Association of Child Protection and Development (LP2A) and Atambua diocese. “Many national and international associations deal with cases of malnutrition. They have contributed much, but the number of malnutrition cases keeps rising,” said Martina Telik Berek, the association’s facilitator. “We focus on pregnant women as well as mothers with children,” she said, as misconduct among families has led to the increase of such cases. Father Gerardus Herry Fernandez, the association’s counselor, agreed focusing on expectant mothers is right “because many pregnant mothers do not know how to treat their fetuses well and many mothers do not understand how to live a healthy life.” He said the association helps local government promote healthy living among the locals. The priest said LP2A provides a range of counseling programs at 91 family health centers in 13 villages, which have 337 malnutrition cases. Silawan and Fatubenao villages recorded the highest number of malnutrition. Hildegarda Suni, a participant, acknowledged that the program “helps us better understand about malnutrition and how to prevent it.” “I am sure a family approach can change little by little,” she added, saying that changing family behavior is not easy. IS13907.1648
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