A small coloured band is changing the fight against severe malnutrition. It started out as an innovative approach that was then researched and proved its worth. Use of the coloured band by mothers to encourage early detection of undernutrition is now being rolled out across Africa by humanitarian organisations working to reduce malnutrition, which is a contributing factor in nearly half of the deaths of children under five years of age in the Sahel.
The rationale behind this new approach was: What if mothers were to check their children daily for malnutrition, rather than relying only on community health workers to detect it when they pass once a month by the villages? This short video explains well how this idea works.
With the help of EU humanitarian funding of more than €60 million since 2013, the medical non-governmental organisation ALIMA runs nutrition programmes, and projects in Niger where research has shown that mothers can effectively measure their children’s arms with the coloured bracelet, prompting them to seek help as soon as they pick up the signs of malnutrition. In 2018 alone, ALIMA has trained one million mothers throughout Africa to regularly screen their children.
Video © ALIMA