They are the unrecognized heroes of Africa. They are millions of grandmothers caring for orphaned children with little money for food and other necessities. Kenya has more than one million orphans. Most of the parents of these children have died from AIDS. On a recent visit to Kenya the local community health workers introduced me to another family that needs the support of our “Feed Hungry Children in Kenya” project. Mary (photo) is a grandmother who provides care for 2 orphans – Dennis, who is 7 years old and Faith, who is 4 years old. Mary’s only income comes from the occasional odd jobs that she can find working for other households in the village. Adequate food, clothing, and school supplies for the children are often out of reach for her. With your generous donation, Mary, Dennis, and Faith will be the 19th family to receive a monthly food ration and school supplies for the children from Global Health Partnerships. More families like Mary’s can benefit from this project if funds become available.
In addition to feeding the hungry children of the poorest families, your contributions have provided therapeutic feeding (with the supplement Plumpy’nut) to 90 children suffering from malnutrition during the past year . The problem of food
insecurity and hunger is a common problem facing many families in this poverty-stricken region of eastern Kenya. Some are in greater need of assistance than others, such as the heroic grandmothers who care for the many orphans in the villages. The relief from the hunger and malnutrition can be provided by GHP very effectively and efficiently. Over 95% of the donations that are received by GHP go directly into program services!
The poorest children at highest risk for hunger and malnutrition often live in isolated villages far from a clinic or hospital. Finding those who are most in need of treatment can be challenging. Once the malnourished children are found, their growth and response to treatment can be difficult to monitor. The Global Health Partnerships (GHP) project relies on volunteer community health workers (CHWs) trained by GHP to accomplish these tasks. The CHWs live in the villages and know the families well. They coordinate outreach clinics on weekends where the children are weighed and measured to assess their nutritional status, and immunizations are also given. Those meeting the criteria for severe or moderately severe malnutrition are enrolled in the GHP therapeutic feeding program. Severe malnutrition is treated with Plumpy’nut®, a fortified peanut-based paste. Children with less severe malnutrition receive Unimix, a fortified soy-corn flour blend that is made into a porridge. The CHWs help monitor the growth of the children and provide the mothers with a supply of Plumpy’nut® and Unimix every 2 weeks. The high success rate of this therapeutic feeding program can be largely attributed to these dedicated CHWs.
For the past month I have been working at the project site, living in the village of
Kisesini with the Kenyan nurses. Today I was asked by the nurses to see Mirriam
(shown in photo), a 22 month old girl whose mother carried her to the clinic
because of a fever and diarrhea. Miriam was suffering from severe malnutrition,
with a weight of only 6.1 kg (13 lb 6 oz). She was dehydrated as well as
malnourished, so fluids were given (intravenous at first, then oral rehydration
solution). Antibiotics were also administered, since they have been shown in
studies to improve the survival of children with acute malnutrition. When she
able to eat the Plumpy’nut food supplements, she was sent home with a supply of
the packets, with close follow-up planned.
During the 3 months since the last project report, the therapeutic feeding program for children
with malnutrition has treated seven children with severe malnutrition, and 18
children with moderately severe malnutrition. Thanks to your generosity, all of
these children are being monitored with frequent check-ups to ensure full
recovery, as they receive their nutritious food supplements of Plumpy’nut and
Unimix. We are also continuing the feeding of the other 17 extremely poor families with monthly food rations.
The major purpose of this Global Health Partnerships (GHP) project since its inception has been the nutritional treatment of malnourished children, and this successful effort continues. During the past year other children who live in the households of malnourished children, who are also hungry and poorly nourished, have been provided with food rations. The medical staff identified the first 12 of the porest families last year, and GHP began providing a monthly food supply to stave off hunger and prevent worsening malnutrition. Since then 5 more families have been added, two of them last month. Yatta Mutie is the head of one of those households and is typical of the problems faced by these families. She is a grandmother who is trying her best to take care of seven grandchildren whose parents died. She shares one bed with her grandchildren in a small house without a door, cooking in the same house where they sleep. A Kenyan nurse working with Global Health Partnerships (GHP) has identified this family as one of the poorest, in great need of food and other basic necessities.
With the help of generous donors, GHP provides a monthly food ration these 17 neediest families, in addition to the therapeutic feeding (with the supplement Plumpy’nut) of well over 100 children suffering from malnutrition. The problem of food insecurity is widely prevalent in this poverty-stricken region of eastern Kenya. Although most families are very poor, some are in more dire straits than others, such as the grandmothers who care for orphans whose parents often have died from AIDS.
This holiday season please consider adding to your past generous donations to GHP so that these poorest of families can be given a gift of extra food and clothing. The relief from the hunger and malnutrition can be provided by GHP very effectively and efficiently. Over 95% of the donations that are received by GHP go directly into program services!
Mwanzia was very thin and hungry when she was started on Plumpy’nut provided by the the Global Health Partnerships therapeutic feeding program. In fact, she was on the edge of survival. Thanks to your GlobalGiving donations, Mwanzia (shown in the photo with community health worker Mutinda) is growing and healthy. Over the past year 90 children like Mwanzia, all suffering from acute malnutrition, were treated and cured in the GHP therapeutic feeding program. Another 11 are improving and continuing to receive treatment.
Your generous support is what turns a child who is thin, undernourished and hungry into one who is healthy and thriving. With your help we will continue to provide relief from the hunger and malnutrition of the poorest families in Kenyan villages, effectively and efficiently.
Over 95% of the donations that we receive go directly into program services!
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