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Nutrition Students in the Community: Focus on Maternal and Child Nutrition

20 Apr 2015

IMU CARES Logo 2013 Students from various programmes in the International Medical University (IMU) joined together to conduct community service at a low cost housing area in Kota Damansara, as an initiative of IMU Cares project in partnership with Non-government Organisations. This project continued for a period of 3 years and ended on 30 November 2014. The focus of the community project was on Maternal and Child Nutrition addressing broad issues of improving dietary intake, oral health, personal care and hygiene of the children, and the risk factors of diet-related chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and physical inactivity for the women.

“The planned activities provided opportunities for the students to exercise creativity, organisation and implementation, teamwork as well as leadership skills. The students would be able to envisage their roles as part of a healthcare team towards the holistic well-being of the population” said Dr Tan Seok Shin, Coordinator of the project.

Second year Nutrition student, Ng Yeng Yi said, “I was able to apply my knowledge of nutrition assessment in the community. I was involved in taking the anthropometric measurements of the mothers and the children. It enabled me to hone my skills in in nutrition assessment and identify the nutritional and health risks of the population. I am privileged to be a part of this project as it helped me to become a competent nutritionist. Nutrition 6 “This experience was very enjoyable! I realized that communication is an important skill as a community nutritionist. The activities were interesting and I had the opportunity to interact with the community and at the same time refine my language proficiency. If I were given a chance to be involved in the project again, I would say YES.” Said Rebecca Sim Sing Yee. Another Nutrition student, Lee Juen Jiat said, “As the students’ leader, I was tasked to organise the physical set up for this activity.. I was able to appreciate the importance of team work. We can work faster in a team rather than working alone. As a leader, we need to lead by example. This meaningful experience is something that I will treasure. Not only that i have learnt a lot, I also had the chance to serve the community.” Nutrition 2

He added “There is so much more to be done in disseminating the awareness on good nutrition which many are not aware of. The importance of nutrition in good health and prevention of diseases has to be emphasised in the community through regular programmes and activities. As nutritionists, our aim is to advocate healthy eating habits to prevent from diseases among Malaysians. Healthy people build a healthy nation!”

Nutrition 7   The Head, Division of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr Snigdha Misra emphasised on the function of a nutritionist in the healthcare team. Nutritionists play a major role in health promotion and disease prevention. Nutrition services in the community tend to be directed to individuals and groups.

  On inter-professional approach in Education, she said “Community project is a good platform for inter-professional learning. It brings together all the members of the healthcare team to deliver a holistic approach in disease prevention. It also enables the members in the healthcare team to appreciate the roles of one another.

This community project was awarded with the Leadership in Community Service Achievement Award at the 2015 International Medical University Day Celebrations. Nutrition 3Nutrition 1Nutrition 4

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