Chad: Relief for moms of hungry kids

Chronic food shortages in West African countries, like Chad, threaten the health of children.

Story and photo by Djimte Salomon. Edited by James Addis.
Published December 22, 2011 at 12:00am PST

Health care workers at the nutrition center measure Priscille's arm. The middle-upper-arm-circumference (MUAC) measurement shows red, which means the child is severely malnourished. Few things make a mom smile like seeing her severely malnourished child restored to good health. 

“When I brought my child [to] the nutrition center two months ago, I could not imagine that she [would] recover very quickly like this. It is a miracle,” says Djane Marie, the mother of 1-year-old Koumnomani Priscille. 

Health center revives malnourished children  

Djane brought Priscille to the Mbitkime Health Center in southern Chad after learning World Vision operates a program there to treat children with acute malnutrition.

When Priscille first arrived at the center she weighed less than 13 pounds and was close to death.

She soon received life-sustaining antibiotics, anti-malaria drugs, and Plumpy’nut — a fortified food product especially designed to benefit malnourished children.

Each week, Djane faithfully brings Priscille back to the clinic in accordance with health workers’ instructions so the child’s progress can be monitored. Priscille has quickly gained weight.

A difficult year

Djane says life has been tough for her family following a failed harvest this year.

“We only harvested two bags of sorghum and two others of groundnuts. We have almost finished the sorghum,” she says.

The eight family members have only two meals a day: porridge is served at lunch, and a paste of sorghum, known as “boule,” is prepared for the evening meal. 

World Vision responds to food shortages

Fabrice Mobetty, a World Vision nutrition advisor, says the program for malnourished children, which opened six months ago, was originally designed to care for about 100 children. However, health conditions among area children are now so dire that the clinic is currently serving almost 600.

Poor rains in Chad and throughout West Africa have led to disappointing harvests and chronic food shortages. The emergency has prompted World Vision to bolster humanitarian assistance programs. 

In addition to closely monitoring and treating child malnutrition, World Vision also is distributing food for the general populace, restocking cereal banks, and distributing seeds to hard-hit farmers.  

Three ways you can help

Please pray for families in Chad and other West African countries who are impacted by this looming food crisis. Pray that they would find the nutrition they need. Pray that organizations like World Vision would be able to work together to help avert a major crisis.

Make a one-time gift to World Vision’s West Africa Food Crisis Fund. Your donation will help deliver emergency food aid, agricultural support, and more to children and families at risk from this impending disaster.

Contact your members of Congress today. Urge them to prioritize the needs of those suffering from hunger around the world.