In order to search for sponsored children, you need to upgrade your Flash Player. Click here. If you have Javascript disabled, please enable it now.

Equipping mothers with knowledge and resources to save children from extreme malnutrition

Until she consulted with a World Vision nutrition specialist, Harriet didn’t even know that malnutrition was the cause of her little boy’s pain. Now, the 11-month-old is on his way to full recovery.

October 2010



Swangirai tastes Plumpy'Nut at the health clinic for the first time. If he had not received this fast-acting intervention, the little boy could have died from malnutrition.
Swangirai tastes Plumpy’Nut® at the health clinic for the first time. If he had not received this fast-acting intervention, the little boy could have died from malnutrition.
Photo ©2010 Collins Kaumba/World Vision
Eleven-month-old Swangirai cried loudly as he arrived at the Siansowa Health Center in Zambia. His mother, Harriet, had no idea how to calm the boy’s distress. He was frail, with a swollen face and legs.

“I don’t know what this child wants,” she said. “Maybe he wants to breastfeed, but I cannot do so, because I have a 6-month-old pregnancy, and according to our tradition, I am not supposed to breastfeed when I’m carrying another baby in the womb.”

Tradition and local myth are in part what caused such trouble for Harriet and her son. “I stopped breastfeeding this child about five months ago,” she said, “but before I realized that I was pregnant, I was breastfeeding him. As a result, he began to suffer from masato.”

“Masato” is the traditional name for a disease that locals believe afflicts children when their parents are accused of committing infidelity. Incidentally, the symptoms of this imaginary illness are similar to those of malnutrition. Thus, children like Swangirai are often tragically misdiagnosed and never receive the care they need to recover from what’s really ailing them.

Knowledge is power

Donate Now.
Help support our efforts to bring life-saving food and care to children suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

Thankfully, Harriet learned the true source of Swangirai’s suffering when he was examined by Betty, a World Vision nutrition specialist. Betty told Harriet that her son was chronically malnourished. In fact, a test concluded that he had nearly reached the most dangerous level of malnutrition.

“The child needs special feeding to address the situation; otherwise, [he] may eventually die,” explained Betty. “His immune system has been weakened, thereby exposing him to other sicknesses, like the diarrhea which he is also suffering from.”

Swangirai was given a ration of Plumpy’Nut®, a nutritionally fortified paste used as a fast-acting solution to malnutrition. As the boy began to eat, he quickly stopped crying and even smiled after a few minutes.

“He is pulling my fingers to push food in his mouth,” Harriet observed. “Now I understand that my child is hungry.”

‘A lot of children’s lives have been saved’

Betty examines Swangirai at the Siansowa Health Center, where at least 350 other children are also receiving treatment for malnutrition.
Betty examines Swangirai at the Siansowa Health Center, where at least 350 other children are also receiving treatment for malnutrition.
Photo ©2010 Collins Kaumba/World Vision
WIth the new knowledge and resources she received through World Vision, the mother of four is now confident that her son will fully recover. But in this area of Zambia, Swangirai is just one among many children affected by food insecurity.

“A lot of children’s lives have been saved because of [this nutritional program],” said Betty. “[But] there are high levels of malnutrition...and the need is still high because each day, several new cases are received at the eight health centers where we operate.”

Wise, another nurse at Siansowa Health Center, noted that a lack of knowledge, combined with poverty, means that many children are all too familiar with hunger.

“It is worrying that due to the challenges families are facing in the rural communities, parents are unable to feed their children properly. They give them the same food eaten by adults, which does not help in any way. As a result, many are dying from malnutrition-related illnesses,” said Wise.

World Vision continues raising awareness of the global food crisis and our efforts to address this emergency — through food distributions, agricultural training and support, and advocacy for legislation that benefits those affected by the crisis. In the name of children like Swangirai, we invite you to join us.


Learn more


>> Watch a video about a World Vision food distribution in another African community struggling with extreme hunger and malnutrition.
>> Read another story about World Vision’s interventions against malnutrition in eastern Ethiopia.

Four ways you can help

>> Please pray for the ongoing recovery of Swangirai, and remember the countless other children like him who continue to suffer from hunger and malnutrition at the hands of the global food crisis.
>> Make a one-time donation to help provide life-saving food and care to children like Swangirai. Your gift will multiply four times in impact to provide interventions like nutritious food, agricultural support, and more to those in greatest need.
>> Give monthly to help provide assistance to children suffering from hunger. As a Child Crisis Partner, you can help save the lives of children hit hardest by the global food crisis, like Swangirai.
>> Contact your members of Congress. Ask them to support the Global Food Security Act, which would make a significant contribution toward reducing hunger by investing in sustainable agriculture and nutrition programs.

Forward to a friend


Learn more

Watch a video about a World Vision food distribution in another African community struggling with extreme hunger and malnutrition.
- -
Read another story about World Vision’s interventions against malnutrition in eastern Ethiopia.

Four ways you can help

Please pray for the ongoing recovery of Swangirai, and remember the countless other children like him who continue to suffer from hunger and malnutrition at the hands of the global food crisis.
- -

Make a one-time donation to help provide life-saving food and care to children like Swangirai. Your gift will multiply four times in impact to provide interventions like nutritious food, agricultural support, and more to those in greatest need.
- -
Give monthlyto help provide assistance to children suffering from hunger. As a Child Crisis Partner, you can help save the lives of children hit hardest by the global food crisis, like Swangirai.
- -
Contact your members of Congress. Ask them to support the Global Food Security Act, which would make a significant contribution toward reducing hunger by investing in sustainable agriculture and nutrition programs.

 





World Vision
Phone: 1-888-511-6548
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way,WA 98063-9716
© 2014 World Vision Inc.
World Vision, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible in full or in part.