During a public meeting in March 2016, the community of Mombin Crochu in North East Haiti issued a desperate plea for help to Village Partners International (VPI). Twenty-six children in the region had died within the year from severe malnutrition. Hurricane Matthew and chronic drought had severely reduced local agricultural food production. Simultaneously, eleven USAID nutrition centers in the region had closed due to U.S. government funding cuts.
Through the generosity of private donors (Jubilee! has supported VPI since 2013) and a grant from Allegany Franciscan Ministries, (written by Jubilant Terry Deal), VPI launched a nutrition program in partnership with Mombin Crochu Hospital. The program, managed by the hospital’s Medical Director, Dr. Miles Cherefent, employs two full-time nutrition nurses and a motorcycle driver. Since its launch in July 2017, the program has intervened on behalf of more than 100 children suffering from severe-acute malnutrition. In addition, the program has provided “medica mamba” nutritional supplement to over 70 moderately malnourished children. Almost 1,000 children have been provided deworming medication, which greatly increases their ability to retain needed nutrients.
How the program works:
- VPI nurses identify at-risk children during home visits, nutrition events hosted at the hospital or other community locations, VPI’s mobile clinics, and through partnership with community health workers (“l ’agents sante”) who alert them when a child appears malnourished.
- Children are assessed for malnutrition by comparing their age, weight, height, and arm measurements to World Health Organization (WHO) standards. Children who are malnourished are
enrolled in the program. During these assessments, all children who need vaccines and deworming medication receive them.
- Once enrolled, each malnourished child receives a full medical assessment and is treated for any infection or illness with VPI purchased medicines.
- The treatment plan is determined based on the child’s age and whether he or she is moderately or severely malnourished. Severely malnourished children and babies under 6 months are treated in the hospital. Moderately malnourished children are treated at home with therapeutic peanut-based supplements known as “medica mamba.”
- In-hospital patients are monitored closely and weighed daily to ensure a weight progression. Babies under 6 months are kept at the hospital until they reach normal weight. Those over 6 months are kept until they can be safely cared for at home. Throughout the hospital stay, family members staying with the child receive free meals thanks to VPI’s Food for Healing program.
- Children monitored at home receive 8—15 day supplies of nutritional supplements. Nurses visit the children every 1-2 weeks to deliver supplements, monitor progress, and conduct life-saving education with families about nutrition, safe food preparation, and family planning.
- Once the child reaches a healthy weight and is free of any secondary infections, they are discharged from the program. VPI and the community of Mombin Crochu are working now on solutions to address poverty in the region with the goal of preventing malnourishment in children.
Jubilants, your continued support of Jubilee!’s Outreach giving makes a difference in the lives of people, both locally and internationally. Thank you!