Deepa gains two kilos and smiles again
Today, Deepa is a bright, bubbly little girl. But she has not always been so healthy. Soon after she was born in 2014 in Bagchaur, Nepal, she suffered from malnutrition. At 20 months, she weighed only 6.3 kg – the average weight for children this age is 11 kg.
Deepa came to the attention of social workers when she was examined at a growth monitoring session held for children in her community. These sessions, organised in coordination with the Nepal Ministry of Health, target children under five accompanied by their mothers. Social workers, trained by partners of Terre des hommes (Tdh), weigh children and measure arm circumference. This allows them to detect growth issues and prescribe suitable treatment or follow-up care.
To help Deepa recover, Tdh worked with her family to raise awareness of the importance of giving children healthy and sufficient food. In addition to advice on good hygiene practices, her parents received financial assistance so they could bring Deepa to the nearest nutritional rehabilitation centre for treatment. Tdh also helped them obtain Deepa’s birth certificate. They did not have a copy, as they thought it was only necessary for citizenship requests.
Deepa and her mother.
Today, 18 months later, Deepa weighs 8.2 kg. Her diet includes breast milk and complementary foods recommended by the nutritional rehabilitation centre. She has also learnt to wash her hands before meals and puts on her shoes before going to the toilet. Deepa still receives regular follow-up treatment, but has returned home to live with her mother, two older sisters and younger brother. Her father works abroad to help meet the family’s financial needs.
Tdh works closely with the Nepalese government and communities to prevent and fight child malnutrition. In 2016, the organisation monitored and treated more than 450 children. Tdh also supports the efforts of health institutions by raising awareness of the issue and holding information sessions in communities. More than 10,000 parents have received advice on nutrition, breastfeeding, hygiene and child protection, among other subjects.
Photo credit: ©Tdh