You are here

Reaching malnourished children

As part of the emergency response in Haiti, we’re running a number of nutrition programmes aimed at reaching the poorest and most vulnerable people. The European Commission provided funding of €1m to support the running of these programmes, which are now reaching over 6,000 children.

Since the earthquake, we have distributed over 500,000 high-energy biscuits and nearly 100,000 sachets of plumpynut – a peanut based food to treat malnutrition. Over 17,000 oral rehydration solutions have also been given to those most in need.

Malnutrition ward

The state hospital in Port-au-Prince, supported by Concern, provides 24 hour care for 19 severely malnourished infants. Children who are too sick to eat are fed by drip before moving to milk and then plumpynut. The average stay is two weeks, but this varies and can extend to six weeks. Once healthy enough to leave, babies are enrolled in the outpatient programme and are seen weekly. Despite the physical limitations, no child is ever turned away.

Nutrition clinic

For those children that are well enough to be seen on a weekly basis, we run an out-patient therapeutic clinic in the camp at Place de la Paix. Around 40 children are seen here every day, some of whom have been released from the ward mentioned above.

Keeping track

A nurse examines the children measuring weight, length, appetite, temperature, heart rate, respiration and skin condition. This information is recorded weekly and monitored. Advice is given to parents on how to prevent vomiting and diarrhoea. Each child is provided with a week’s supply of plumpynut. The quantity depends on the child’s weight, with an 11kg infant receiving 35 packets, allowing for 4.5 per day.

Sheliva’s story

Leshie Jolita is here at the clinic with her 22-month-old daughter Sheliva and her 11 year old daughter. Sheliva’s condition has already improved dramatically. She has gone from being barely able to move to sitting up and eating plumpynut and even briefly managed a smile for the visitors to the clinic.

Things are improving, but there is still a long way to go.

European Commission Humanitarian Aid (ECHO)