| Dec 15, 2020
Thank you for all your support and the amazing help you are giving children like Thomas.
From the Kiandutu Slum in Thika, Kenya....
Thomas* experienced a sad start and didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy his early childhood. When he turned 3 months, his parents separated causing his mother to have to struggle raising him all by herself. Life was a real struggle since his mother only depended on casual jobs that were occasional and paid little money to enable her buy food and pay house rent as well. Living in the Kiandutu slums was characterized by a lack of food, poor living conditions and unemployment that sunk them into the cage of poverty.
When Macheo first identified Thomas, he was 16 months old and weighed just 13 pounds. He fell sick so often because his body did not have the same ability to fight off infection as a well-nourished child’s body would do. Thomas was not yet dewormed, he had little appetite, which only intensified his condition and the complications he was experiencing. He was then enrolled in the malnourishment program, which provided Thomas with nutritional supplements and intensive follow-up to help strengthen his diet that contained nutritionally dense foods. He was also dewormed and provided the care and support he needed to grow as a well-adjusted child.
Thomas’ mother was also educated about proper nutrition and feeding practices for children, as well as warning signs of malnutrition from training offered by Macheo before the corona pandemic started. She also became trained on proper parenting, hygiene and cleanliness. To reinforce her ability to provide for her family, Macheo enrolled her into the cash transfer program. Through the support, she has started a grocery stall and can now have a stable income. Thomas is now well adjusted and enjoys a happy childhood.
What Macheo is doing to change the environment that childen like Thomas will experience
Even before COVID-19 became a global pandemic threatening the health and well-being of the world, many children under 5 years of age suffered from wasting putting them at higher risk of death. For children who survive, wasting adversely affects children’s body growth, brain development, and later school performance. Malnourished children are the most at risk during this pandemic. First, they are at risk because of potential disruptions in the nutritional services that keep them alive. Secondly, under nutrition makes them more susceptible to infection. And finally, they are more vulnerable because they rely on parents for daily feeding, care and support. If caregivers are sick, quarantined or unable to secure nutritious and safe food and drinking water, children will suffer.
Macheo has continued to offer nutritional support to children who were identified. Through this intervention;
• We intensified our intervention to protect, promote and support optimal breastfeeding, age-appropriate complementary foods and feeding for infants and young children, and related maternal nutrition, using all opportunities to include key messages on COVID-19 symptoms, hygiene practices, and infection prevention and control measures.
• We took safety precautions of the current nutrition programming to reduce potential of infection in undernourished children, their caretakers and staff by hand washing with soap, physical distancing and intensive messaging. This was so because the government still has restricted gathering of any kind. Macheo was forced to work with these children in their homes.
• We Intensified efforts to strengthen the capacity of mothers and caregivers to detect and monitor their children’s nutritional status using low-literacy/numeracy tools including mid-upper arm circumference.
• We also intensified pre-positioning (cash transfers for vulnerable families) to buy essential commodities like food for the prevention and treatment of children who were malnourished and routine medical checkups and supplies at national, community and health facility levels.