Child and health worker in Afghanistan
Since 1985 Save the Children has been responding to the needs of Afghan children and families. The goals of these projects focus on three critical areas of childfocused development work. These are: basic education, water and sanitation, and childhood nutrition. One of the key elements of childhood nutrition is making sure that mothers are also taken care of. By working to improve the health, nutrition and hygiene of mothers, Save the Children is also securing a strong foundation of good nutrition for children.
The village of Frishqan-e-Kalan is located in the north-eastern part of the Sangchrak district of the Sar-i-Pul Province. The village is a very small community of about 360 families. The community’s main source of income is agriculture; the main products include wheat, barley, peas and grapes. It is here that we meet Basid and his mother.
Basid was one of the first children screened for malnutrition by Save the Children’s malnutrition team. At eight months old, Basid was very thin and looked malnourished—he only weighed 3.2 Kg. In speaking to Basid’s mother, Save the Children asked about Basid’s feeding, i.e. what type of food she fed him; who in the family was responsible for feeding him; how often he was fed; and whether she started feeding him using her own breast milk. She confessed that she had been feeding Basid on artificial milk obtained from the bazaar and that she had not yet taken him for vaccinations.
When she started attending Nutrition Education Rehabilitation Sessions, NERS, run by volunteers and Save the Children nutrition staff, there were immediate and significant changes in her and her son. Both mother and son’s hygiene improved, and Basid’s mother learned the importance of a balanced diet, the benefits of exclusive breast feeding, and the importance of vaccinations to protect children against preventable diseases. Also during those fourteen days of NERS sessions, Basid gained weight on a daily basis—a total of 700 grams.
Since then, Basid and his mother have been doing extremely well. Basid has received all of his vaccinations andnow weighs 7 kilos. Basid’s mother expressed her gratefulness to Save the Children for showing them that simple adjustments to their nutritional practices can produce enormous results, without spending too much money.
Basid’s story is not unique. Thankfully, it is replicated in hundreds of villages in Afghanistan where Save the Children implements nutrition programs. Your donation helps Save the Children to reach families and children in Afghanistan, and we are grateful for your support.
Child in Afghanistan receives care