Severe malnutrition is frequently fatal for young children (30-50% mortality) in the absence of a good care in a therapeutic feeding program. For that reason it is very important to find and treat the children suffering from acute malnutrition, though this can be a challenging task. The families that live in the rural region of southeastern Kenya where this project is located reside in villages that are widely dispersed. Extreme poverty and lack of transportation limit access to health care for the poorest families, and food insecurity increases the risk of malnutrition for their children. The nurses who work with the Global Health Partnerships (GHP) project travel to these isolated villages to conduct outreach clinics, which are coordinated by local volunteer community health workers (CHWs). The children are weighed and measured to assess their nutritional status, and immunizations are also given. The children who are found to have the more severe problems with malnutrition are enrolled in the “Feed Hungry Children in Kenya” therapeutic feeding program. In the 3 months covered by this report, 334 children under 5 years of age were provided care in the outreach clinics and assessed for malnutrition. Five of the children had severe or moderately severe malnutrition and were provided with a supply of the ready-to-use therapeutic food supplements (Plumpy’nut® or Plumpy’sup®) every 2 weeks, and growth monitoring by the CHWs. Children also received deworming treatment and vitamin A supplements as recommended for poorly nourished populations of children. The results of this therapeutic feeding program have been very good, with the majority of children fully recovered and with a mortality rate of less than 1%. The cost of each outreach clinic is only $80.
In addition to the therapeutic feeding of children with malnutrition, the project now has 21 families who receive a monthly food ration and clothing for the children from Global Health Partnerships (GHP). These families are among the poorest in Africa, and include children with malnutrition or who lost their parents from AIDS, subsistence farmers who lost their crops from drought, and children whose mother died in childbirth.
The “Feed Hungry Children in Kenya” project provides relief from the hunger and child malnutrition very effectively and efficiently. As of July 1, 2014, 100% of the donations that are received by GHP go directly into program services! (A GHP Board member is covering all GHP administrative expenses).
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