Transform health in a Kenyan slum with just $26

 
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Dec 11, 2013

Saving Children's Lives at Lishe Bora Mtaani, CFK's Nutrition Center

Isaac with his mother, Esther (left), and Francis.
Isaac with his mother, Esther (left), and Francis.

When CFK met Isaac in May of this year he weighed 6 kgs (~13 lbs), at 13 months old.  The normal weight of a child his age in Kenya is usually around 8 kgs (~18 lbs).  That may not seem like a lot, but it is for a young child. 

During a community screening for malnutrition, CFK Community Health Workers (CHWs) met Isaac and his parents.  Isaac’s mother is a housewife who, at the time, had just moved to Kibera from the rural areas with her son to be with her husband, Isaac’s father, who works as a casual laborer.  Only making 150 shillings (~$1.75) a day, the minimal income wasn’t enough to provide for the family, and Isaac’s health showed it.

Not only was Isaac severely malnourished, but he suffered from anemia, pneumonia and developmental delays.  Doctors at CFK’s Tabitha Medical Clinic recommended that Isaac be admitted to Mbagathi Hospital for eight weeks.  Not able to cover their usual day-to-day expenses, Isaac’s family was worried about the hospital expenses.  Thanks to the support from CFK’s Health Department emergency fund, the bill of 4,800 shillings (~$56) was covered, and Isaac was released from the hospital weighing 6.7 kgs (~15 lbs).

After being released from the hospital, Isaac was enrolled in CFK’s Lishe Bora nutrition center where he was fed every two hours, with feeding supplements and balanced meals and snacks.  As part of the holistic program, Isaac’s mother took classes on preparing balanced meals for her child and on the importance of good hygiene and sanitation for families living in Kibera.  After just two months in the centre, Isaac was able to stand and walk on his own and was beginning to speak, all developmental milestones he previously hadn’t reached.  He was finally discharged from the nutrition center weighing 18 lbs.

Isaac’s journey still continues.  He and his family receive weekly home visits from the nutrition center and CHW teams at CFK to make sure Isaac continues to progress.  In November, I joined CFK Nutritionist, Esther and CHW Francis as they visited Isaac in his home.  A shy but clearly loved and happy little boy, Isaac recognized Esther when she arrived at his home.  Isaac’s mother held and hugged her little boy, talking to Esther about how she was able to change meal preparations to make them more nutritionally rich and healthy for her family, something she learned from Lishe Bora.  She told Esther that if it weren’t for CFK, she may have lost her son.  Esther replied, “This is what we do.  We’re just doing our part for the health of the kids.”

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Organization

Carolina for Kibera, Inc.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
http://cfk.unc.edu

Project Leader

Leann Bankoski

Executive Director
Chapel Hill, NC United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Transform health in a Kenyan slum with just $26