What is Nutrition Corner you ask? Well, let us tell you!
Each month TTL Outreach goes to 4 different Health Centers in Mokhotlong
district and does a cooking demonstration with a new recipe each month. The aim
of these cooking demonstrations is to give caregivers ways to prepare food for
young children that they might already use, however modified just a smidge to
make them healthier and provide as much nutrition as possible for a growing
child. During these demonstrations, a local nutritionist from the Ministry of Agriculture
joins to give a talk about how the food we are preparing that day is full of
amazing nutrients and how these positively impact the child.
February was all about mashed mokopu (pumkin) and the
importance of vitamin A. Most of the
women here have been told about vitamin A and know it is important for their
growing children and their eyes. However, most are unaware that vitamin A is
found in many foods that they grow in their own gardens.
Vitamin A is very important in the growing child, not only
is it important for proper eye development, it is important for a strong immune
system. Children who have vitamin A deficiency are at a higher risk for
mortality from diarrheal diseases or measles. Vitamin A deficiency is fairly high in Lesotho
and the Ministry of Health has followed the WHO recommendation to give children
vitamin A supplements every 6 months for the first 5 years of life.
Something that these nutrition corners try to emphasize is
modifying already used recipes. Usually when Basotho make mashed mokopu lots of
salt is added. This month’s recipe is salt-less. Yes, iodized salt in
important, however it is only important in moderation. During one nutrition corner an ‘M’e was very
concerned why we were not using salt in this verison of mashed mokopu. Also, to
help with child development we left our mash mokopu on the chunkier side,
helping the children use more motor skills in their mouths.
To make mashed mokopu you peel, dice, and pace in a pot with
a tiny amount of oil and water. Then you
cook the mokopu for about 30 minutes, or until it is easy to mash with a spoon.
Mash the mokopu, however make sure it is on the chunky side so the child uses its
chewing muscles in the mouth! Put mashed mokopu in a bowl and enjoy!
Nastassia is a current Peace Corps Volunteer with TTL. She has experience working in various aspects of International Public Health with a strong focus on Maternal and Children’s health. She works mostly with the various TTL outreach programs and just loves spending afternoons in the safe home with the best babies in the world.