7.2  Checking the sick child for malnutrition and anaemia

All children who are brought to the health post for consultation with you should be checked for malnutrition and anaemia. A mother may bring her child to the health post because the child has an acute illness and specific complaints that may point to malnutrition or anaemia. A sick child can be malnourished, but the child’s family may not have realised this problem.

A child with malnutrition has a higher risk of disease and death. Even children with mild and moderate malnutrition have an increased risk of death. Identifying children with malnutrition and treating them is therefore a critically important part of your role as a Health Extension Practitioner. Some malnutrition cases can be treated at home, while severe cases need treatment in an out-patient therapeutic programme (OTP), or referral to a health centre or hospital for special feeding, blood transfusion, or specific treatment of a disease contributing to malnutrition (such as tuberculosis or HIV).

You are now going to learn how you should assess all sick children for malnutrition and anaemia.

7.1.2  Types of malnutrition

7.3  Assessing for malnutrition