Malnutrition Awareness WeekTM (MAW) was a national event in the Dominican Republic, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Yleana Munoz, Head of Nutrition Services at the Central Hospital of the Armed Forces, and newly elected president of the Sociedad Dominicana de Nutrición Clínica y Metabolismo (SODONUCLIM).
Dr. Munoz took advantage of every tool at hand to reach out to fellow Society members across the island nation of more than 10 million. She used mailing lists and tapped into the efficiency of WhatsApp to send out a PowerPoint presentation and the MAW promotional toolkit. Members were asked to adapt and modify the materials for their individual hospitals and communities. They were also encouraged to use their own social networks to raise awareness.
Society members responded by presenting educational talks to their medical staff and spoke with patients and their families about malnutrition. Another member met with patients in the dialysis department—all within COVID restrictions.
Despite smaller medical personnel and families in waiting rooms due to COVID, Dr. Munoz said members were anxious to take advantage of an opportunity to educate—to make a little more “noise.” “We believed that if we could get that smaller group to understand the importance of identifying patients with malnutrition or those patients at risk, it would be worth it,” she said.
The Society took full advantage of social media not only to galvanize its members but to educate the public. Throughout the week, malnutrition information was posted on the Society’s Instagram, @sodonuclim, and the organization launched its first issue of the Bulletin, which focused on hospital malnutrition.
Malnutrition Awareness Week provided another benefit. “This was also a chance for the nutrition staff to sharpen their knowledge and to learn to communicate the importance of nutrition to different groups: patients, doctors, nurses, and hospital administrative personnel,” added Dr. Munoz.
Read more ambassador stories.