How my child recovered from severe acute malnutrition

How my child recovered from severe acute malnutrition

Funded by Kid Power and the Government of Ireland, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Irish Aid), the mobile health brigades are one of the programmes that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is supporting the Government of Mozambique to reach the most vulnerable communities affected by the drought emergency. Up to June 2017, 369,042 children were screened for acute malnutrition and 23,631 severely acute malnourished (SAM) children were treated by UNICEF supported Ministry of Health trained mobile brigades and Management of acute Malnutrition Program.

Claudio Fauvrelle
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How my child recovered from severe acute malnutrition
Manuel Lavado, Zabeta Joaquim and their 10-month-old daughter Marta. Marta was treated for severe acute malnutrition and is now recovering well. © UNICEF Moçambique/2017/Isabel Periquito

Sabeta, MANICA - With a total population of 18.785 inhabitants, Sabeta is one of the localities with the highest population, and one with more cases of malnutrition in the district of Tambara. Sabeta is located 25 km away from the main health centre in Tambara, and the nearest health centre is 8 km’s which is difficult to reach as there is no formal public transport in that area. “The possible reasons for the high number of malnutrition cases here in Sabeta are related with the lower production in this area and the HIV prevalence,” said district nutritionist, João Simões.

"When the mobile brigade, an outreach team to treat children with acute malnutrition, came to visit the community of Saguancala in Sabeta, it was well received by the community leader and the school principal from the school where it took place. Things started slowly, but more people started showing up with their children," said João.

Zabeta Joaquim (does not know her exact age) is a young mother who wanted to make sure that her 10-month-old daughter Marta is healthy, so she was one of the first mothers to show up to get nutritional services by the mobile brigade. Zabeta heard that the mobile brigade was coming to her community, and she wanted to follow up on Marta’s health situation.

Zabeta is married with 21-year-old Manuel Lavado that woks every day in at the “machamba” (small family agriculture plot). Baby Marta is very quiet but curious to see what is happening around her. She was often seeking her mother breast, and Zabeta gladly assisted her to breastfeed.

"Since Marta was born, I have been worried. The birth attendant told me that Marta had low birth weight. Marta also has been having frequent health and growing problems," said Zabeta with a worried face. The previous month, Zabeta had to take Marta to the health centre because she was having abdominal pains and diarrhoea. On the health centre the nutritionist diagnosed Marta with severe acute malnutrition. “I got sad to hear that my child was with nutrition and weight problems again, but I decided to follow all the doctors’ recommendations so that Marta can get better again,” she said.

When Marta’s name was called out loud, Zabeta didn’t waste any time, she quickly undressed Marta and prepared to put her into the sling, hanging from one of the lower tree branches, to know her weight.

Zabeta has been consistently feeding her child with the treatment provided at the health centre. The treatment consisted on sachets of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF).

Zabeta was anxious to hear what João Simões was going to say about Marta's weight. Good news, the RUTF treatment is working, Marta was gaining weight.

João also measured Marta’s mid-upper arm circumference and height to confirm her nutritional status. Another good news, Marta has recovered since the last visit, and Zabeta nodded and smiled. According to his diagnose, Marta was now with moderate acute malnutrition. João continued to explain Marta’s condition and gave Zabeta his recommendations and the RUTF to continue the treatment.

Zabeta was happy and more relaxed, “I am happy to see that my child is getting better and I am hopeful that soon Marta is going to be well again”. Zabeta was also happy with the help that has been given to her by the mobile brigade team. “Takuta (thank you in the local language),” said Zabeta and Manuel, for helping improve the health of their child, Marta.

Funded by Kid Power and the Government of Ireland, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Irish Aid), the mobile health brigades are one of the programmes that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is supporting the Government of Mozambique to reach the most vulnerable communities affected by the drought emergency. Up to June 2017, 369,042 children were screened for acute malnutrition and 23,631 severely acute malnourished (SAM) children were treated by UNICEF supported Ministry of Health trained mobile brigades and Management of acute Malnutrition Program.




For more information, please contact:

Claudio Fauvrelle
Tel +258 21 481 100
email: cfauvrelle@unicef.org

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