Background About 50% of infants in Malawi are stunted. Two years ago I spent two weeks volunteering at MOYO House, the country’s biggest rehabilitation unit for malnourished children located at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.
My Experience I spent time with parents to have a better understanding of the background to their malnutrition and watched doctors tailor a plan for each family that included affordable foods and methods of feeding.
I then joined students from the school of nutrition in making high protein porridge formulas for the children; producing several types with varying nutritional content. For me the most inspirational experience was feeding and interacting with the children and witnessing dramatic improvement over a short time.
I also attended several doctor-led ward rounds. This highlighted the stark contrast in healthcare needs between a country like Malawi, and the UK in which I was used to. Many of the children had co-morbidities such as TB and HIV, diseases almost never seen in children in the UK and this gave me an insight on the complexities of caring for these children with very little resources.
The future With the case fatality rate for malnourished children with co-morbidities still at 70%, the Ministry of Health in Malawi is making huge advances in prioritising the care of malnourished children by opening rehabilitation centers and focusing on prevention of malnutrition by providing education to the community from an early age on the importance of nutrition in children using locally and cheaply sourced products.
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