All 523 children registered in the program showed the following symptoms: • swelling to hands, feet or to the whole body due to lack of proteins; • severe underweight malnutrition given to lack of food. After checking weight, height and MUWAC, we found out that 64% of the children were suffering of severe malnutrition. This means that their weight/height ratio was below 70% of WHO standard for their age, and that MUWAC was below 115 mm. RESULTS The program is ongoing since two months. We checked children’s health once per week for four weeks and gave them monthly the allowance they need of DMK, oil and milk. In this period we managed to reduce the percentage of children with severe malnutrition down to 42%, while 15% of them recovered and showed a ratio above 80% of the WHO standard for malnutrition. However none of them was yet dismissed, not having reached 86,5% of the standard. We experienced that using the MUWAC bracelet is useful not only for the child but also for the mother; in fact, when they see the different bracelet’s colors that indicate their child’s situation (red= very severe; yellow= severe; light blue= moderate; green= good), they are emotionally involved in their child’s wellbeing: they feel proud when the bracelet shows a better color and, on the contrary, they feel ashamed if the situation worsens. We took advantage of the meetings with the mothers to educate them about nutrition and child care, focusing on food quality rather than quantity. Especially in these times, when in Eritrea there is a shortage of food, it is imperative that women take good care of a healthy and well balanced diet for their children, to avoid malnutrition.
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