Malnutrition was a big problem in this tiny country before the massive earthquakes destroyed large swaths of Nepal earlier this spring. Nearly half of all Nepalese children under age five are afflicted with the condition.
Sadly, relief efforts might be worsening the problem. In the immediate aftermath of the quake, relief organizations sent huge amounts of rice, noodles and biscuits to villages, Because these foods are easy and filling, mothers were happy to serve rice, noodles and biscuits to their children three times daily.
Nepal Youth Foundation staff visited three emergency centers in Sindhupalchok, a region hard hit by the quakes, and found many children showing signs of malnourishment.
"This is an unintended consequence of relief," said NYF's President Som Paneru. “This should serve as a lesson for future disasters.'
Instead of starchy, processed food with no nutritional value, Mr. Paneru recommends that relief agencies send non-genetically modified seeds be distributed to the villagers, most of whom already farm their own land.
"Nepal is not suffering from famine or drought," said Mr. Paneru. “So instead of distributing rice, relief agencies should be distributing wheat, millet, and maize, which have ten times more nutrition. They should distribute beans which can be boiled, germinated and consumed."
The seeds would encourage people to return to their land and till the soil, a healing process in itself.
Most families lost the seeds stored inside their houses. By distributing the black lentils and soybeans currently in season, families would feel compelled to return to their homes. Mr. Paneru said that many people are afraid of recurring quakes and need to be reassured that it is safe to return.
"For farmers to go out and till their land is itself a healing process," said Mr. Paneru.
NYF operates 16 nutrition clinics throughout Nepal and has educated thousands of mothers and caretakers in the basics of good nutrition.
Weighing only 12 pounds, 22-month-old Asmita was admitted to our Nutritional Rehabilitation Home (NRH) in Kathmandu last fall.
She was very hungry and thirsty but was too weak to eat when she arrived on September 14, 2014.
Fifteen days later, the toddler returned home healthy and smiling. And while Asmita was nursed to good health, her mother learned how to better care for her by preparing nutritious meals using locally available food.
To date, we have treated more than 13,000 children in our 16 Nutritional Rehabilitatiion Homes throughout Nepal and taught an almost equal number of mothers how to maintain their child's newfound health.
Our NRH in Kathmandu also serves as a training center and offers dietician education to health care professionals.
Thank you and dhanyabad!
The staff at the Nutritional Rehabilitation Home (NRH) in Kathmandu screened 2,952 children last year for malnutrition during 10 outreach camps in rural communities throughout Nepal.
NYF staff referred the most severely malnourished children to the nearest NRH for treatment and educated the mothers of 1,420 others who were found to be mildly or moderately malnourished.
NYF staff conducts “Nutritional Outreach Camps” throughout the country every year to identify children who need treatment. Last year, we organized 10 such camps. NYF also conducted nutrition awareness programs in two schools from May 15-21, 2014 as part of the government’s School Health and Nutrition Week program.
In addition to treating malnourished children and teaching their mothers the basics of good nutrition, we offer Dietitian Training workshops for health professionals, focusing on diet counseling, menu preparation, nutritional awareness and improvement in kitchen management and cooking in hospitals. The 1,235 healthcare professionals and volunteers who went through the training sessions last year multiplied the effect by sharing their knowledge with other professionals in their teams.
NYF operates 16 NRH's throughout the country where severely malnourished children are nursed back to health and their mothers are taught the basics of good nutrition using affordable, locally available food.
Thank you for helping us to nourish these children.
Weighing only four pounds when her mother brought her to NYF’s Nutritional Rehabilitation Home last spring, tiny Kripa blossomed during her month-long stay.
She is one of thousands of children nursed back to health at one of NYF’s 16 NRHs, while their mothers learn the basics of good nutrition using healthy, locally available food. These small clinics are located near hospitals in each district in Nepal. We operate them for five years, and then turn them over to the government to run. So far, we have transferred eight NRH’s to government stewardship, freeing our resources to reach even more malnourished children.
Kripa had a tough start in life. Unable to produce enough breast milk, her mother fed her only rice porridge. Her health quickly deteriorated and she was hospitalized, too weak even to open her eyes. Nurses referred her to our NRH in Kailekh where she was treated intensively until she stabilized.
In a little over a month, she grew to a healthy eight pounds! Receiving lessons in food preparation, nutrition, and personal hygiene, her mother learned to feed her appropriately and took back this knowledge back to the village to share with family and friends.
Thank you for your generous support of Kripa and thousands of children like her.
We recently held a nutrition outreach camp in a marginalized Chepang community, who are only recently transitioning from a semi-nomadic lifestyle. Sadly, we found that out of the 140 children screened, 104 (75%) were malnourished. The children who were severely malnourished were immediately referred to the nearest Nutritional Rehabilitation Home (NRH). At the camp, we taught the mothers about nutrition and how to prepare nutritious meals from locally available resources to revive the health and weight of the children.
We expanded our outreach in July into the rural villages of Sindhupalchok District - four hours outside of Kathmandu – where a total of 1,381 children were screened for malnutrition, received medical examinations and taught the hand washing techniques. Their mothers learned the basics of good nutrition using locally available food.
NYF operates 16 NRH's throughout the country where severely malnourished children are nursed back to health.
We are expanding out outreach efforts to identify more children who need help. Nearly half of all Nepali children suffer from malnourishment.
Thank you for your support.
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