Health and Nutrition

Killing worms, gaining weight

Story by Phoebe Naw, photo by Khaing Min Htoo | July 10, 2015

Hnin started out as a happy, healthy baby in Myanmar.

Her mother, 36-year-old Chaw Yupar, exclusively breastfed Hnin for months after she was born.

“When my daughter turned 6 months, I went out to work and left her at home with her elder siblings,” Chaw says. “They fed her snacks that were available from the local shop. I fed her my breast milk when I returned home in the evening.”

But when Hnin turned 2, she became very sick.

Worms leech nutrients out of tiny bodies

“She suffered from frequent bouts of diarrhea,” Chaw says. “I tried to treat her at home with my limited knowledge. She lost her weight as well. I had no idea what happened to her.”

Out of ideas, Chaw talked to a midwife, who told her Hnin had worms. She recommended Chaw take her daughter to the hospital.

“When I reached the clinic in Thabaung, the doctor accused me of delaying to bring my child,” Chaw says. “I didn’t understand at first, but later realized that if I had not brought her in, I would have lost her.

“The doctor gave my daughter medicine and deworming pills. After taking the treatment and pills, she felt better. World Vision supported all the medical costs.”

The medicine saved Hnin’s life, and she recovered.

Mothers learn healthy eating and hygiene habits

Chaw returned to work, again leaving her child with her older siblings. But once again, the siblings fed Hnin cheap food from the local snack shop. The food didn’t have the proper nutrients to support growth, so Hnin’s weight dropped, and she became severely malnourished.

This time, a World Vision intervention program in Chaw’s village helped. The program leaders identified 18 children in the community to participate, including Hnin.

The 12-day program taught mothers how to feed their children affordable, locally available foods to promote healthy child development. They also educated the moms about proper hygiene and health practices.

“At first, my daughter didn’t like the food, and she refused to eat,” Chaw says. “But she finally ate it.”

A new, healthy way of living

At the end of the program, Hnin’s weight had increased by 2.2 pounds to 21.2 pounds. Still, Hnin continued in another round of the program.

“I was surprised to see my daughter’s weight increase to 10.3 kilograms (22.7 pounds) after two sessions,” Chaw says with joy.

Things didn’t just improve for Hnin, but also for Chaw as a result of the program.

“Before, when I return home from the fields, I would immediately hold my daughter and feed her without washing my hands,” Chaw says. “I think my daughter got diarrhea because of this. I learned to wash my hands first before holding my child, as well as before feeding her.

“Now, I do not need to push her to eat. She asks herself. She also eats rice and curry at home. I try to prepare foods based on the ‘3 Food Groups’ chart [received in the program].”

As Chaw welcomes her seventh child into the world, she knows her new baby will not suffer from worms, diarrhea, and malnutrition like Hnin did.

“For this baby, I will practice the hygiene behavior and take care of the baby well so that she or he will not suffer like Hnin,” Chaw says with a smile.

Support children like Hnin, who deserves the opportunity to grow up and live healthily. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

How generosity saved a boy from a fatal disability

How far can you go as parents to save your child? How generous can you be to save someone’s life? With the help of his family and the generosity of others, 12-year-old Jomari is finally winning the battle for his life after being diagnosed with a fatal disability right after his birth.

It was 2004 when the Portugis family had just settled in Palawan, an island province far from their hometown in Bohol. They lived in a small but well-built house. Juris, the head of the family, had acquired a decent job. Life was starting to become convenient.

That same year, Sergia gave birth to Jomari, who was immediately diagnosed with a physical disability. This troubled Juris and Sergia because they knew that their child’s condition might put his life at risk.

The doctor who attended to Sergia revealed that her son has a renal and urinal disability. The disability prevented the infant to lose body wastes normally because of irregularity of the skin on his anal and reproductive organ.

“The doctor told me that an operation should be performed immediately before the trapped body wastes could cause infection to my son’s internal organs,” the mother was emotional as she tried to remember the exact words the doctor said.

The plan was to create a temporary hole on the child’s abdomen area so the wastes could be extracted regularly. Estimated to cost around P30,000, the couple were worried that the operation might not push through since they spent most of their expenses for the birth delivery.

Optimistic, Sergia believed in the generosity of others during her son’s time of need. She approached different offices, talked to many individuals and appealed for financial support or free health services. Her husband also doubled his efforts by accepting more work after his day job. They prayed tirelessly for their son’s healing.

And just like answered prayers, generous people came to answer their plea. The mayor of their town provided transportation expenses so the family can travel to Puerto Princesa, the province’s capital, for the abdomen operation. The doctor who attended to Jomari only asked P15,000 and even allowed the parents to pay only when they already could.

The infant’s operation was successful. He can already extract waste through the hole on his abdomen. His parents constantly watched over Jomari and made sure he had everything he needed.

However, it was only a matter of time that Jomari’s health became unstable because of his abnormal condition. They needed to bathe him using distilled water to avoid infection on his abdomen. The distilled water didn’t work for a time and Jomari got infected. He suffered from constant fever and unbearable pain.

“It was hard for me to see my son suffer through that pain all the time,” Sergia shared. “He was still only a few months old and to see my child cry all the time because of the complicated situation was unbearable.”

After continuous effort to seek for assistance and hardwork of the parents, Jomari finally got his anal organ operated when he turned a year old. He can already perform a normal bowel movement.

Years passed by, the family returned to Bohol – their hometown. The child continued to bear the hole on his abdomen for his urinal waste. It was only recently that Jomari became a member of World Vision, a development foundation working in the communities through child-focused projects. The organization helped by supporting the check-up expenses of the child.

In 2015, the boy’s reproductive organ was operated after a series of check-ups. His abdomen hole, along with the pain he suffered all those years, was already stitched closed.

“The doctors, the staff of World Vision, and every generous people who helped my son, we are very thankful for them,” the mother expressed.

Now on his elementary years in education, Jomari is living a normal life without the trouble of pain and discomfort. Though, he is still waiting for his final operation to fully recover, Jomari and his parents will continue to fight until he is finally healed.

“We don’t have enough but God is good and He continues to send generous people to help us,” said Sergia.

Support children like Jomari, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

Stopping drought’s impact: Greenhouses in Lesotho help AIDS orphans

By Makopano Semakale

Greenhouses produce food for AIDS orphans during drought in Lesotho

Their dream is simple – to feed their children.

The drought which has consumed the country for the past six months has put more than half a million people, or a quarter of the population, at risk. The price of food and animal feed has more than doubled.

Yet, in Matelile, in southern Lesotho, a farmers’ group has not been deterred.

Instead of sitting and waiting for hand-outs, the Raohang Lesoma Farmers’ Association came together and built a greenhouse, putting into practice what they learnt from training provided by World Vision.

“We are devoting all our energies to the greenhouse because we can already see a future. We see ourselves feeding our families and, most importantly, helping the orphaned and vulnerable children under our care, as well as selling the surplus that we have grown,” says Mr Motlatsi Maile, Chairperson of the Farmers’ Association.

One in every 6 children in Lesotho is orphaned and more than half of those children have parents who died from HIV/AIDS. The situation forced many adults, like Motlatsi, to care for children and grandchildren. The Raohang Lesoma Farmers’ Association currently has 25 members who care for more than 100 orphaned and vulnerable children.

“I personally could see danger awaiting us if we did not take action. I could see poverty written all over our faces and those of our children,” Motlatsi says.

The idea started at the very height of the drought in October last year.

“We realised if we did not do anything, we were going to die of hunger…because the drought had affected everyone, asking for food from anyone was embarrassing. We then decided we will all come together to do something to help ourselves,” he says.

“We had to work hard to keep the members together and it was not easy because people were hungry and needed food immediately.”

“We realised if we did not do anything, we were going to die of hunger…
We then decided we will all come together to do something to help ourselves”

 

Many members were not sure whether what they were doing could take them anywhere. Even as they worked the land, their hopes were very slim because then rain had become little more than a memory.

The greenhouse was started and completed at the peak of drought in December 2014 and the farmers are currently selling produce from the greenhouse.

Some 18 members of the association went to two training courses. The first explained what a greenhouse is and the second was on how to maintain it.

After that, the Association used close to $10,000 to construct the greenhouse, complete with an irrigation system.

Members have since made a schedule for maintaining the greenhouse.

Each day, two people go to the greenhouse to ensure that produce is harvested for people who want to buy it. They use organic manure which is collected from animal sheds around the village and making it very cheap.

“Some members were beginning to lose hope in what we were doing, but thanks to World Vision, we were motivated by the greenhouse idea and now it seems to be working very well. You can see it is green amidst the extreme heat. We are able to sell some of our produce to other communities and our dream is to produce more. We are selling our produce to big supermarkets,” Motlatsi says.

Support these AIDS orphans from Lesotho, who deserve the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child today.

This grandma in Congo saves granddaughter through locally available malnutrition busters

Wednesday, December 21st 2016

Worried of her granddaughter’s health, 61-year old Seraphine Dana joins World Vision training for mothers and finds solution through locally available malnutrition busters.

Séraphine Ali was born three months and three weeks premature. Her mom died after delivering her after six months of pregnancy. She has a twin but she died at birth. Séraphine, now three months old, was frail and sickly. Under the care of her 61-year old Grandmother Seraphine Dana, feeding her was a struggle. “It was difficult to feed my granddaughter as healthy food suited for infants is extremely expensive,” said Seraphine Dana.

“I got concerned when my granddaughter started losing weight. I was worried of losing her after I lost her mother,” added Séraphine Dana. A widow, she is jobless and found it difficult to work and earn some money to support her family. “I used to earn selling water to get enough to provide for the needs of the house. Now I cannot leave her behind and nobody to take care of her,” she explained.

“I do not worry of Seraphine Ali any more. I have learned a lot for my family to survive”

To help address this nutrition deficiency in the community, World Vision works in association with community-based organizations to improve children’s health and increase those who can properly read, write and calculate at the end of their primary schooling. The Fondation Famille D’accueil (FOFAD) is one of the community-based organizations that World Vision supports. The organization takes care of 300 malnourished children in the community, along with their families. When Séraphine Dana learned about World Vision’s assistance, she decided to contact FOFAD to check the nutritional situation of her granddaughter and seek help.

Her resourcefulness paid off. Séraphine Dana got trained on preparing healthy food for infants and young children. She learned how find local ingredients that provided children with a balanced diet. She learned that “masuso” – a mix of corn, sugar and soya – can help maintain the health of her granddaughter. Together with Seraphine, 375 mothers also trained on preparing nutritious food for their children using local resources.

Gallery: How we’re tackling child malnutrition in DRC

Putting to use all the knowledge she learned, Séraphine Dana watched as her granddaughter started to grow up. “Now, my granddaughter is healthy. She gained weight from eating a mixture of corn, sugar and soya. All this I learned after the training by FOFAD supported by World Vision,” says Séraphine Dana.

“I do not worry of Seraphine Ali any more. I have learned a lot for my family to survive,” Séraphine Dana says. World Vision, through FOFAD, has provided the families to generate income through small livelihood projects made possible by the support of the savings group program.

According to Mbuta Mafuta, the National Nutrition Coordinator for Gemena, the levels of malnutrition in the area has several levels:

  • 9.5% acute
  • 47% chronic
  • 26% with weight insufficiency

Dr. Ngenda Chiza Phillipe, and epidemiologist and World Vision’s Health and Nutrition Advisor, says the main causes of the children’s health problems are related to under-nutrition and deficiencies in micro-nutrients.

Read or watch a video about the “grandmother-inclusive approach”

Support children like Séraphine Ali, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child or donate to Health and Nutrition fund – through World Vision’s Gifts of Hope today!