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 Health  Nepal Project #2055

Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition

by Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF)
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition
Nursed back to health
Nursed back to health


The NRHs are located in 12 districts throughout the country. The total capacity of 12 NRHs is 143 beds. With an average of 30 children staying days and a ninety percent occupancy target, these NRHs have a capacity to serve 1570 malnourished children per year. NYF is currently managing 7 NRHs with 84 beds capacity.  Four new NRHs are underway in Baglung, Dang, Butwal and Dailekh.

Two week long intensive training sessions for the staff of NRH-Bharatpur (recently established on April 27) was conducted by the experts from Kathmandu NRH. All the NRHs are operated in the same model of the Kathmandu NRH and hence, Kathmandu NRH has been acting as a resource and training center for the outlying NRHs. An orientation was also organized in Bharatpur in which representatives from District Health Office, local health posts, doctors, nurses, and other medical personals were invited. The purpose was to expand network and disseminate information about the NRH and its working modality amongst the associated people and institutions. 

Nutritional Outreach Camp

NRH Kathmandu conducted two Nutritional Outreach Camps in these 6 months: 609 children were screened out of which 432 (71%) were found to be in normal health condition and 29% were malnourished. Education on nutrition and health was provided to the mothers/guardians of the children, especially those with malnutrition. The severely malnourished children were referred to the NRH for further treatment.

Within the 7 NRHs under NYF, 490 children, 278 boys and 212 girls, were admitted and provided nutritional care. Among them 88% (431) belonged to age-group under 5.

Likewise, 519 children (277) male and (242 female) were discharged: 387were discharged officially after they reached normal weight, 81 were discharged on request, and 38 were referred to the hospital and 13 left against medical advice.

460 care takers were trained about food, nutrition, health hygiene, and sanitation through demonstrations and practical sessions.   

939 follow-ups were carried out and most of the children’s health conditions were found to be satisfactory. Few children were still malnourished due to poor economic condition and/or chronic medical complications. 12 death cases were also reported in this period which is quite high as compared to other times.

NRH Kathmandu provides vaccination to those children who did not have chance to receive necessary vaccines prior to their arrival at NRH. During this quarter, 14 children were administered TT, 23 were administered MMR and 30 children received vaccine against Meningitis.

In coordination with the hospital and District Public Health office, NRH-Surkhet has started to provide immunization services to the children of Surkhet and adjoining districts. The addition of this facility has made it easier for the people to know about our facilities when they bring their children for vaccination and we have been able to identify and treat more children as a result.   

For those parents who were unable to stay at the NRHs, counseling was provided on feeding appropriate balanced diet to recover the weight of the child. These counseling sessions have proved to be quiet effective as majority of the guardians reported good improvement in their children.   

In case of the 5 NRHs which are handed over: 282 children were admitted and 275 mothers/caretakers were educated in nutrition and health in these 6 months.


Dietician Training for Health Professionals

The highly positive outcome from the previous Diet Management Training (especially for staff from zonal hospitals) encouraged us to give continuity to this project and hence, a 2nd training was conducted (September 23 - October 2, 2012), this time aiming to build the capacity of the district hospitals.

The core components of the training were:

  1. Basic knowledge of nutrition
  2. Diet management for specific age groups and physical status
  3. Diet management targeted at patients with specific diseases
  4. Management of acute and chronic malnutrition

After the completion of the 10 days training (1st phase), the trainees went back to their workplaces. The Manager of the Kathmandu NRH and the Nutrition Coordinator for Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) then carried out follow up of the participants in their respective workplaces. The follow up showed that the participants were effectively implementing the training content in their workplaces (hospitals and NRHs) through sharing of the training content with the hospital management team and the staff, displaying posters and other information on diet and diseases in hospitals, diet counseling for patients, menu preparation for patients and improving the management of the hospital kitchen. 


Malnourished baby
Malnourished baby


Mother Feeds her Child: Mealtime at an NRH
Mother Feeds her Child: Mealtime at an NRH

The Nepal Youth Foundation’s Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes are located in 12 districts throughout Nepal. They have a total capacity of 143 beds and this year they treated 1,697 severely malnourished children and provide hands-on training to 1,561 mothers in nutrition and health. Countless lives are saved by this program, and even more children are rescued from being physically or mentally stunted for life.


The Nepal Youth Foundation builds the Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes (NRHs) on the grounds of government hospitals and gets them up and running, then transitions management of the Homes to the government five years later. Two NRHs were handed over to the government this year, making a total of five that are now being run by the government, leaving the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF)’s funds available for building new NRHs.


In the last year, NYF’s staff investigated three more government hospitals and determined they are suitable locations for buildng new NRHs.


NYF built a new flagship NRH in Kathmandu, which was inaugurated on February 21, 2012 and started operations on April 27, 2012. It has 24 beds and a large room for training. The training facilities have already been used for training new NRH staff as well as dieticians and other health professionals from throughout Nepal.


In addition to treating children at the Kathmandu NRH, the staff conducted three nutrition outreach camps in underserved areas. They conducted growth monitoring for children and provided health education to parents.


Thanks to generous support from donors, the NRH program continues to thrive.


Olga & two girls of K House, NYF
Olga & two girls of K House, NYF's home for girls

Dear Friends:

First, I would like to thank you for your generous contributions to our program to Rescue Children Suffering From Severe Malnutrition ( This project’s impressive accomplishments, including giving lifesaving treatment to more than 1,000 malnourished Nepali children every year, would not be possible without the support of people like you.

Additionally, I want to tell you that I am retiring as the President of the Nepal Youth Foundation and that the Board has appointed Som Paneru, our former Executive Director in Nepal, as my successor.

This is bittersweet – on the one hand, I am leaving a position to which I had devoted the last 25 years of my life. On the other, I’m taking a step toward fulfilling my most ardent wish – that the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) continue to provide life-changing help to the neediest children of Nepal. The appointment of Som as the new President will bring to NYF the skills, the passion, the smarts, the creativity, and the experience to assure its future long after I am gone. NYF has a bright future.

Let me tell you a bit about Som. He is a product of NYF’s scholarship program and the son of a poor farmer from the Ghorka District of Nepal. In the 1990s, after we granted him a scholarship to Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu to study science and math, he brought several of his young siblings to Kathmandu from his village to assure that they, too, would receive an education. He enrolled them in school in the city, and provided all the care they needed, and full support. Several of his siblings now have advanced degrees.

After Som graduated, he wanted to teach, but not in a private school for rich kids, but in a poor village where the instruction in science and math was pitifully inadequate. He explained that he had "a lot to pay back" to those who had helped him to get an education.

NYF was growing quickly, and in 1995 we offered Som a job. It became apparent very quickly that he had an uncanny knack for creating and administering programs. Our very popular Indentured Daughters Program was his idea, and he was instrumental in creating the ingenious "piglet for a girl" method to liberate these young girls from slavery ( And it was his idea and his excellent relations with the Ministry of Health that led to the government agreeing to take over and fund all the 14 Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes we have built after we operate them for five years (  

I will continue to be involved with NYF, of course. I hold the post of Honorary President, and will continue as a member of the Board of Directors. It is hard to exaggerate the pleasure your support and encouragement have given me over these many years. It has enabled NYF to grow from a tiny organization to what we are today – a well-run foundation providing transformative help to thousands of Nepali children every year.

Warm regards,
Olga Murray
Founder and Honorary Board President
Nepal Youth Foundation

P.S. Please learn more about the Nepal Youth Foundation’s diverse programs for children in need at

Olga with Som Paneru at her 87th birthday party
Olga with Som Paneru at her 87th birthday party


Krishna at admission to the NRH
Krishna at admission to the NRH

Krishna Dahal was less than two years old when his parents brought him to a children’s hospital because he suffered from vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and weight loss. After his condition stabilized, the hospital staff referred him to a nearby Nutritional Rehabilitation Home (NRH) because a root cause of his problems was severe malnutrition.

Although Krishna belongs to a middle-class family and both of his parents are well educated, they were unaware of basic nutrition. His mother fed him enough calories every day but he lacked essential nutrients.

When little Krishna arrived at the Nutritional Rehabilitation Home, he was sad, pale, and lifeless. The NRH staff gave him fortified milk and vitamins to supplement the highly nutritious diet fed to everyone at the facility. They also taught his mother about the importance of nutrition for children’s development. After just a month, Krishna reached his target weight and was a happy, healthy baby. His mother became well-nourished and educated.

The Nepal Youth Foundation’s pioneering Nutritional Rehabilitation Home program treats severely malnourished children while teaching their mothers about nutrition and health care. After a few weeks, a healthy child and a healthy and educated mother return home. Learn more about this life-changing program at

P.S. To get the latest news about the Nepal Youth Foundation’s work for Nepali children in need, please join us on Facebook at

Krishna, just one month later
Krishna, just one month later


Nutritional education for mothers and children
Nutritional education for mothers and children

In Nepal, around half the children under five are malnourished. Malnutrition is a leading cause of death in young children.

NYF's Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes (NRHs) are small home-like hospitals throughout Nepal that use an innovative method to restore severely malnourished children to good health while educating their mothers in nutrition and child care. When mother and child return home, the mother shares her new knowledge with her family and neighbors, multiplying the impact.

NYF opened the first Nutritional Rehabilitation Home in 1998. Since then, the program has treated 8,443 severely malnourished children and educated 7,528 of their parents and guardians. In 2011-2012 alone, the NRHs rescued 1374 children and trained 1249 caretakers.

NYF’s Solution

In Nepal, the main cause of malnutrition is ignorance, rather than poverty. Severely malnourished children come to NRHs with their caretakers (who, in Nepal, are almost always their mothers). Many of these children are emaciated and lifeless. The NRHs’ nurses, dieticians, and cooks provide medical care and nutritious food to restore the youngsters to full weight and health. More than 80% of the patients are younger than five.

At the same time, the staff trains the youngsters’ guardians about a wide range of topics including preparing nutritious meals using locally available, inexpensive food; sanitation and hygiene; preventive health care; and how to share this knowledge with others. The daily hands-on training sessions and practical demonstrations are very effective with illiterate and uneducated parents.

After an average of five weeks, a happy, healthy child and a newly educated mother return to their home. The mother provides better nutrition for her entire family and tells her relatives and neighbors what she learned at the NRH, extending the effects of the program far beyond the children who are treated at the facilities.

According to a typical case study, “When Lhamu returned to her village, the entire community was in awe over her improvement. Moreover, her mother has now changed her feeding habits and improved her family’s hygiene.”

NRH field staff visit every child at least twice to ensure they are retaining their health and weight. They also provide additional training to the caretakers and refer the children to hospitals or NRHs if they suffer from health problems. In 2011-2012, NRH staff conducted 1,490 follow-up visits and found that the small number of children who were still malnourished were generally suffering from chronic diseases or were from deeply impoverished families.

Expansion of the Program

This program has been extremely successful. At the request of the government of Nepal, NYF has built Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes throughout the country. With the exception of the flagship facility in Kathmandu, each NRH is constructed on or next to the grounds of a large government hospital. Through an agreement with the government, NYF builds the facilities, hires and trains staff, and gradually transfers management and funding of the operation to the government hospital. After five years, the government is fully responsible for the NRH.

NYF has now constructed 12 NRHs, which can treat a total of 143 children at a time. In 2011-2012, the organization transferred two NRHs to the government. NYF’s staff inspected all five NRHs that have crossed the five-year threshold and found that all are adequately funded and effectively managed.

The program continues to expand across the country to rescue children from malnutrition in remote areas. In 2011-2012, NRHs were in all stages of development: a newly built one began operation, NYF completed construction of another, and plans were made to begin one more. NYF also secured funding to construct three more facilities in rural and remote areas of Nepal.

In early 2012, NYF’s flagship NRH moved to a new and much larger facility. In addition to its functions as an NRH, it serves as a nutritional education center for training dieticians and health care professionals.

The NRHs’ pioneering approach has built-in sustainability. The nutritional knowledge imparted on the caretakers stays with them for life and will be handed down for generations. On a larger scale, by transferring management of the NRHs to government hospitals, NYF ensures they will continue to rescue malnourished children for decades to come, and frees NYF’s funding to be used for other projects.

Akha when he first arrived at the NRH...
Akha when he first arrived at the NRH...
...Akha after just a few weeks of treatment
...Akha after just a few weeks of treatment



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Organization Information

Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF)

Location: Sausalito, California - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @nepalyouthfound
Project Leader:
Julie Pofsky
Associate Director of Development
Sausalito, CA United States
$41,404 raised of $50,000 goal
842 donations
$8,596 to go
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