Tsaratanana Health Center Launches Malnutrition Treatment Program
The first week of May marked the launch of the malnutrition program CRENAS (Centre de Récupération et d’Education Nutritionnelle Ambulatoire Severe) at the PIVOT health center (CSB) in Tsaratanana.
CRENAS is one arm of the Madagascar Ministry of Health’s nationwide program to fight malnutrition. Patients are enrolled in the CRENAS program once diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition, which is based on physical exam criteria including measurements of height, weight and arm circumference. Patients are then evaluated weekly by healthcare providers at the CSBs to ensure that they are gaining weight appropriately, and receive a weekly supply of a high-nutrition therapeutic food called Plumpy Nut while being screened regularly for complications. Patients with complications are referred to the hospital-based CRENI (Centre de Récupération et d’Education Nutritionnelle Intensif) for more intensive nutritional care and monitoring.
Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of death among children under the age of 5 every year in Madagascar, and thus it is a high priority for PIVOT. For that reason, we are integrating treatment for malnutrition across all levels of care, including the community level. In their respective fokontany (villages), trained community health workers (CHWs) both refer malnutrition cases to CSBs, and conduct home visits to all patients diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition as follow-up to their CRENAS enrollment.
The program at Tsaratanana was already busy by week three. The program’s launch date was intentionally chosen to land in advance of Mother and Child Week, which involved coordinated door-to-door malnutrition screenings conducted by CHWs in their communities. There are now 4 CSBs in Ifanadiana District running CRENAS programs supported by PIVOT.