Online Program

Fighting malnutrition in fond des blancs, Haiti – a practicum student's experience

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 1:20 p.m. - 1:35 p.m.

Sandrine Batonga, MPH, Public Health Practice Office, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Introduction: St. Boniface Hospital (SBH) is located in Fond des Blancs, Haiti, a poor rural region 70 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince. SBH's catchment area is vulnerable to malnutrition as dire poverty, inadequate children feeding practices, lack of access to basic health services and poor sanitation prevail in the area. In partnership with UNICEF, SBH launched a 15-month nutrition program aimed at increasing access to and follow-up for nutritional care for malnourished children and underweight pregnant and lactating women. Methods: My duties as a MPH practicum student from June to August 2012 involved conducting chart reviews and performing home visits to moderately malnourished children who abandoned the nutrition program. The charts of the 15 severely malnourished children hospitalized from October 2011 to April 2012 in the Nutritional Stabilization Unit of the hospital (USN) were assessed for completeness and conformity to the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) recording guidelines. Home visits were conducted to identify factors behind malnourished children's absence from the free program. Results/Projected Outcomes: The memorandum on the USN files evaluation that I prepared addressed recommendations to help nurses fill in its totality the MSPP therapeutic form (a key form in the USN charts consistently left incomplete). Recommendations also focused on ways to make the over 300-prompt form user-friendly. Transportation affordability and relocation were found to be the main reasons for abandonment.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how the international practicum experience enhances public health students’ skill sets Explain how an international practicum shapes future career choices List benefits of working in an international setting

Keyword(s): Practice, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have successfully done my practicum, and I have presented my work on several occasions focusing either on the content (malnutrition), the practicum experience (its benefits and the knowledge gained) or both. Since I completed my practicum, I have been involved in helping BUSPH students find international practicum opportunities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.