Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 6

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

First read Case Study 6.1.

Case Study 6.1  Chaltu’s story

Chaltu is two years old. She was brought to you because she has had diarrhoea for the last two weeks. You took anthropometric measurements; her weight is 7 kg, her height is 80 cm, and her MUAC is 10.5 cm. You found pitting oedema of both legs.

When you asked Chaltu’s mother about the family situation, the mother told you that Chaltu is the seventh child in the family. The family owns only one hectare of land and the land is not fertile.

SAQ 6.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 6.1 and 6.2)

What is the nutritional status of Chaltu? Is Chaltu malnourished? Explain how you have come to your answer.


You have to use the growth chart to decide the nutritional status of Chaltu.

  • Her weight for age is below the third centile
  • Her weight for height is < 70%
  • Her height for age is below the third centile
  • Her MUAC is 10.5cm and has bilateral pitting oedema.

Chaltu has severe acute malnutrition (because her weight for height is < 70%, her MUAC < 11cm, and she has bilateral pitting leg oedema). Any one of these three signs is enough to classify Chaltu as having severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

Chaltu is also stunted (because the height for age is below the third centile) and she is also underweight (because her weight for age is below the third centile).

SAQ 6.2 (tests Learning Outcomes 6.1 and 6.3)

What do you think are the immediate, underlying and basic causes of Chaltu’s malnutrition?


The immediate cause of Chaltu’s malnutrition may be the diarrhoea that she had for the last two weeks.

The underlying cause may be either family food shortage (because many family members have to live off a very small piece of land that is not very fertile), poor childcare by the mother because she has many children to care for or a combination of these factors.

The basic cause in this case may be poverty, which is the common basic cause in many of malnourished families.

SAQ 6.3 (tests Learning Outcome 6.5)

List the strategies you will use for Chaltu’s family in order to promote proper nutrition in this family.


As a Health Extension Practitioner you may be able to advise Chaltu’s family on proper feeding practices, strong family planning services, dietary diversity, proper care and treatment of her current illnesses, and on the need for education of children (both girls and boys).

SAQ 6.4 (tests Learning Outcomes 6.4 and 6.5)

What is the impact of malnutrition on communities? How can you help prevent some of the negative effects of malnutrition?


Malnutrition is a major public health problem in Ethiopia and has a significant impact on communities, in particular for women and children. Millions of children die of severe acute malnutrition each year and poor nutrition prevents many children and adults from ever reaching their full mental and physical capacity. For example, children who are malnourished are at risk of stunting, which affects their productivity when they are older; malnutrition also affects their learning ability, school performance and attendance. All of these consequences have a social and economic impact on the community and the country.

As a Health Extension Practitioner you can help to minimise the effects of malnutrition in your community. In particular, through good maternal and child health care, you can help promote good feeding practices in families and emphasise the importance of clean water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. You can also support strong family planning services to help families space or limit the number of children they have. Other examples where you will have a role include advocating for basic education for girls as well as boys, encouraging communities to grow a wide range of nutritious foods and to ensure particularly that children and pregnant mothers have the right amount of food they need to be healthy.

Summary of Study Session 6