Malnutrition contributes to a high rate of childhood morbidity and mortality. Children who are highly at risk from this menace are those who are affected by poverty. With almost half of the population of Kenya living in poverty, malnutrition is one of the leading causes of death in children. The high prices of food, heavy rainfall that has destroyed crops and poor feeding practices have contribute to malnutrition.
Macheo has continued to focus on the first one thousand days of a child's life because it’s a unique period where foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established. Malnutrition weakens this foundation leading to severe health complication, mortality and loss of neurodevelopment potential. It’s a window of opportunity that Macheo mainly focuses on by providing proper nutritional services and medication. We have also trained our clients on nutrition and assisted them to set up a kitchen garden.
- Feeding: We fed the malnourished children with nutritious food. Macheo professionaly lregistered Nutritionist regularly checked diets to ensure we are feeding the Malnourished with nutritious food. We also engaged the children in play activities to stimulate their brains.
- Seminars: During this quarter we managed to have 26 seminars. In these seminars we focus on empowering mothers with information on health, importance of baby’s stimulation, savings and family planning.
- Home visits: Home visit were done to check on the the progress of the moulnourished children. We also assisted some of the families to set up a kitchen garden to improve their health status.
- Hospital follow ups: Through your support we were able to take children with severely malnourished children to hospital to receive proper treatment. With your support we were also able build the network with government hospitals, which is now providing us with micronutrient supplements that we give malnourished children.
His mother Tabitha, worked as a manual labourer and had to take on the earning responsibility in the household since her husband was a drunkard and did not care about them. For Tabitha’s family every day was a struggle with work in short supply, caused a significant impact on her ability to maintain food supplies. “I simply could not afford to provide basic needs especially the nutritious food my young children needed for good health. Instead, my eight children struggled to survive on a diet of little more than cereal porridges, millet, maize or rice, a diet that lacked many essential nutrients,” says Tabitha.
When Macheo's social worker identified Josh, he was thin, wasted, with pale eyes and palms. This was a troubling symptom of what would become a much more complex condition; malnutrition. Josh’s weight was also fluctuating, he got sick so often because his body did not have the same ability to fight off infection as a well-nourished child’s body would. What’s more, as is common with children dealing with malnutrition, Josh had little appetite. In addition, he couldn’t eat well because of the cleft lip and palate which only aggravated his condition and the complications he was experiencing. Through Macheo, Josh was enrolled in the nutrition program which provided him the medication and dietary treatment he needed including an intensive follow-up to help regain developmental milestones. With the help of Macheo, Tabitha is also learning how to provide her children with a more balanced and complete diet, even with minimal money she earns. After that, Macheo took another step ahead to help repair the cleft lip and palate. Josh would require two surgeries; lip adhesion operation to close the clefts in Josh’s lip and a final surgery to bring everything beautifully together.
Despite the priceless happiness from Josh’s mother when she was told that her child had successfully begun his health care journey, there were things she had to do differently. She tried very hard to treat Josh as though there was nothing different about him. “Josh is growing up to be well adjusted. ’Fearless’ is one word we always use to describe him these days since he received the support from Macheo. He is willing to do anything and has the spunk to try to do it,” says Tabitha. “At first I was devastated and scared. I was concerned about what Josh would look like for the rest of his life. I wanted to make sure that his face would appear symmetrical but I didn’t earn enough to make this happen. For the cleft lip repair, it took one week for him to recover, and we had to get used to not seeing a hole in Josh’s lip. My hope is that he recovered from the cleft palate repair in two days, then he was back eating regular baby food,” she adds.
Tabitha was moved by the compassion and generosity of everyone who has played a role in Josh’s care. She remains grateful to Macheo who helped Josh turn into a happy, confident and charming boy he is growing up to be. He is now healthy, part of a family that absolutely adores him, and has a future that has been re-written and is filled with hope. Macheo feels compelled to make sure that Josh undergoes a second surgery which according to the doctors is a costly procedure that the family can not afford to raise. Tabitha looks forward that her son Josh has a future that is filled with hope towards fully recovery of Josh’s condition. Macheo is currently facilitating enrollment of Josh into the National Hospital Insurance Fund, a scheme that would offer him free treatment for the second surgery.
On behalf of the children and their families, Macheo is extremely grateful for your enormous support received from GlobalGiving all through the year 2019. We celebrate the success of the work we have done together and most importantly your aspirations towards making the world a better place for the children.