We all know that malnutrition increases the chances of individuals getting ill, staying ill, and dying. It weakens the immune system, increasing the body’s susceptibility to infections and setting in motion a vicious cycle. And just as those experiencing malnutrition and diet-related diseases face worse symptoms from COVID-19, this cycle of malnutrition, infection and death is exacerbated by the present pandemic.
The pandemic has made families face grave challenges in the forms of food price hikes, unemployment, restricted mobility and disruption to health and social services. Regardless of whether they are directly or indirectly affected by the virus – their nutritional intake, and therefore health, has been harmed and urgent action needs to be taken to address the barriers they face in accessing healthy food.
To facilitate improvement Macheo continues to provide critical community-based nutrition services, using innovative/digital delivery systems for basic services such as promotion of breastfeeding, micronutrient supplementation, and basic primary health care, including immunizations.
Macheo scaled up the cash transfer programs, using nutritional vulnerabilities as beneficiary targeting criteria and provide adequate nutrition, health and hygiene advice using innovative solutions such as digital payments and social media messaging.
In the field....
Rachael is a child of a teen mum. They live in the Kiandutu slum in a rented house with Rachael’s grandmother. When she was referred to our Malnourished Child intervention, she weighed 11 lbs. at eight months old, had delayed milestone, couldn't play and had a very poor appetite. She had other health conditions which were affecting her food intakes. She was taken to a doctor where she was diagnosed with intestinal challenges which was preventing her food intakes. She continued staying in our program for two weeks and in March the government announced a curfew as a control measure to prevent the spreading of Covid 19. That meant that Racheal and other children in our intervention could not come to the center to receive the food rations that had been set for her.
We came up with the plan of helping Racheal from home. We engaged her mother through regular phone calls for checkups and follow ups. Her mother was taught how to care for her child, prepare a healthy diet for her as well as how to stimulate her baby. She was also put in a cash transfer program where she could buy food and meet other essential needs like house rent. With our support Rachael now looks happy, improved in her health and has started walking.
These successes would not possibe without the help and trust that you have given to us, in order to help the neglected children of this world.
Thank you and please stay safe in these challenging times.