Free from Malnutrition: A New life begins for 2-Year-old Precious

 Mothers living in Mumias West Sub-County, Musanda Ward, Eshihaka Community Unit, are going through hardships when it comes to good nutrition habits for their children. Due to their poor living standards, residents of Eshihaka are unable to get proper balanced diets for their toddlers, which has led to malnutrition.

USAID Boresha Jamii is supporting nutrition activities in all the 12 sub-counties of Kakamega County. One of the activities being supported is Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) in Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Feeding Nutrition (MIYCN) through open community forums.

USAID Boresha Jamii held the first MIYCN open community forum in September 2021 in Mumias West Sub-county, Musanda Ward, Eshihaka Community Unit, where 60 mothers attended together with their children aged under five years. During this meeting, the project provided nutrition education, focusing on the six basics of an appropriate complementary feeding: Frequency, Amount, Texture, Variety, Active/responsive feeding, and Hygiene (FATVAH). Nutrition assessment was also done by use of Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC).

Precious, a two-year-old girl, was identified with severe malnutrition. Her nutrition assessment parameters then included a weight of 5.8kgs and a MUAC of 8.5cm. She stopped breastfeeding at nine months when the mother found out that she was expecting another child. The child was being fed on white porridge (made of maize flour only), ugali and green vegetables soup (with no vegetables), and no fruits; at best two times a day since the family has five other children to feed while the father, the bread winner, does not have constant income (he works in a nearby village as a shamba boy). She has had frequent diarrhoea and could not walk.

 USAID Boresha Jamii referred Precious to Butere Hospital, which has capacity to support inpatient management of acute malnutrition. The child was under the care of her father for 3 weeks since the mother has a baby, 3 months old. Upon her discharge, Precious had improved appetite, gained weight gain, and was clinically well. The project counselled her mother at home to improve on her infant feeding practices, including exclusive breast feeding for the 3-month-old baby, whom she had already initiated for complementary feeding. The mother has now started re-lactation and has embraced exclusive breastfeeding. A nutritionist and a community health volunteer (CHV), supported by the project, visited their home and took the mother though food demonstration that included choice, preparation, serving and actual feeding.

Precious’ current nutrition status include weight of 9.5Kgs while the MUAC is green. She is now provided with frequent meals with diets that include ugali, milk, eggs, and vegetables. Her health has improved that she can now walk.

USAID Boresha Jamii, through the nutritionist and CHV, is currently conducting weekly home visits to Precious’ family while following up with the father to set up a home garden for continued supply of vegetables. The project will also initiate a family planning method for the mother. In addition, the project will include responsive stimulation to the child through play to improve her mobility. The father will make toys from local materials to enable continued play even when the child is alone.