Health and Hygiene, And Natal Care – Building Sustainable Practices

Nutrition Outcomes – 2020/2021

We aim to increase the children’s nutritional intake by supplementing them with 1 balanced meal 5 days a week. Their daily staple consists of tapioca/rice and any catch of the day. We provided meals to 3 groups of people: 30 Iskul children, 6
graduate students and 9 students’ siblings beginning July 2022. Under the YHSG 2020, we hired 2 cooks to prepare the daily RM4 meals for our children. Every two weeks, Iskul’s coordinator travels to Semporna town to purchase the ingredients. Every week, we would purchase fish from the local fishermen for our menu. Our menu includes carbohydrates, protein, vegetables and fruits. At the beginning of the program, all children’s BMI readings were underweight. All 30 students showed substantial weight gain by mid-September 2021. 25 students’ BMIs have grown since joining our meals program in July 2020. Even though 83.3% of the students have improved BMI rates, their BMI readings still fall in the underweight category. For the 6 graduate students who participated in the meals program, 60% showed an increase in weight. For the 9 students’ siblings who participated in our meals program, 56% (5) have gained weight, 33% (3) lost weight and 10% (1) didn’t gain nor lose weight.

Hygiene Programme

We launched our hygiene program in August 2020 where our 30 students began their morning routine of brushing their teeth before class. Pre-program, at least 5 students reported toothache and bleeding gum problems. By September 2021, we saw a great improvement in their oral hygiene where only 2 students reported toothache and none complained about bleeding gums. Students were also taught to wash their hands and wear face masks as a Covid-19 prevention method. We held two workshops on the 18 (conducted by Jefry Musa, sponsored by the YHSG 2020 and Semporna Aid Team) and 25 July 2020 (conducted by Mercy and Unicef) where students were given masks, hand sanitizer and soap and taught the correct methods of use.

Supplements For Mother And Child’s Health

Most of the stateless women in Omadal do not perform routine pregnancy checks and they labour at home. Their newborns are unvaccinated. The main reasons are high medical cost and little exposure and fear of modern medication. Maternal and newborn deaths are not uncommon amongst the community though there is no official data. Hence, we jump-started simple mother and children health programmes. We provided Obimin supplements to 20 expecting and new mothers as well as multivitamins to 30 children below 6 years old. We hope to provide nutrients to the unborn children and also the children in Omadal as proper nutritions are critical to a child’s early year development. We worked with nurses and doctor Leong from Klinik Warisan Semporna. To start, we teamed up with the nurses to conduct an information session
for our women and children participants. They learned about the importance of nutritions to children’s growth and development. They also learn about the safe and appropriate way to consume the supplement. For the first month, we distributed the supplement daily and monitored their progress. A few pregnant mothers reported headache and stomachache, So, we changed their supplement to Zincofer. As for the children, all of them enjoyed the multivitamins.
This program has given us insight into the vulnerability of the stateless Bajau Laut community. We noticed how sudden deaths are prevalent and unrecorded. By June 2021, there were 3 births. Sadly, one infant passed away one day after the birth. This is about 33% of the infant survival rate from our observation. Furthermore, one child from our multivitamin
program died suddenly after a fever. These deaths might be avoided if they received early and proper medical treatment.


Posted on

September 10, 2023