As part of our fight against acute malnutrition, we organize a major screening campaign each year for children aged 6-59 months. We also screen for malnutrition at every home visit.
We then systematically follow up on all children found to be acutely malnourished. Between 2019 and 2023, we have already had more than 2,000 malnourished children treated. As many as 95% of them have fully recovered. The remaining 5% are children who moved away and could not be found again, who died or whose parents continue to refuse all help despite all efforts categorically.
We want to reduce acute malnutrition in young children by investing in their care and treatment. At the same time, we want to provide the community with tools and knowledge to prevent child malnutrition.
To provide appropriate treatment to children, we distinguish three degrees of acute malnutrition: moderate, severe without complications and severe with complications.
The moderately malnourished children are cared for in the Foyers d’Apprentissage et de Récupération Nutritionnelle. During five meetings over two weeks, we work with the children and their mothers. The mothers receive training on balanced nutrition, health and hygiene. And the children receive enriched flour porridge (based on 300 g of flour per day) and other balanced meals to regain strength. And anthropometry is checked at every meeting.
Children suffering from severe acute malnutrition without complications are treated in Ambulatory Nutrition Centres or Health Centres. They receive nutritional treatment based on ready-to-use therapeutic food and – if necessary – the appropriate medication.
Finally, children suffering from severe acute malnutrition with complications spend an average of two weeks in one of the therapeutic nutrition centres or hospices.
We cover all care costs, hospitalization and special food to treat severely malnourished children. The ingredients for the supplementary meals are collected from the community or – for those who do not have the necessary resources – purchased by us.
Results and developments
Early treatment of malnourished children is crucial in our fight against acute malnutrition. Treating moderate malnutrition early, prevents it from evolving into a severe form. Moreover, in this way, we encourage mothers to adopt healthy eating habits to avoid malnutrition. The positive trend in the percentage of acutely malnourished children proves the effectiveness of this approach. In the nearly 50 villages of N’Dali municipality where we operate, the acute malnutrition rate decreased from 11.78% in 2019 to 1.42% in 2022.