Posts tagged nutrition

From the series MSF in 2013:
“We sent mobile clinics out to reach people who’d fled into the bush, where terrible conditions and lack of food made malnutrition a huge problem. Even though we were a small team we saved a lot of children’s lives that way.”— Dr. Yolaine Civil, Doctors Without Borders pediatrician in Central African Republic (CAR)MSF staff weigh a baby to check for malnutrition at a mobile clinic near Bossangoa, CAR. Photo © Ton Koene

From the series MSF in 2013:

“We sent mobile clinics out to reach people who’d fled into the bush, where terrible conditions and lack of food made malnutrition a huge problem. Even though we were a small team we saved a lot of children’s lives that way.”
— Dr. Yolaine Civil, Doctors Without Borders pediatrician in Central African Republic (CAR)
MSF staff weigh a baby to check for malnutrition at a mobile clinic near Bossangoa, CAR. Photo © Ton Koene

Photo: An MSF staff member measures a child’s mid-upper arm circumferance to check for malnutrition in Mogadishu. Somalia 2012 © Mike Woodman/MSF
Responding to Urgent Nutritional Needs on the Outskirts of Mogadishu
Years of intense violence, drought, malnutrition, and infectious disease have wrecked the Somali health system and displaced thousands of Somalis from their homes. While food security seems to have improved since 2011, MSF assessment shows that malnutrition rates are still alarming in many parts of the country, including the outskirts of Mogadishu.
According to this assessment, one in four children living in camps outside the Somali capital are malnourished. In response to this critical situation, an MSF team launched an emergency three-day intervention to provide urgent nutritional treatment and on-site medical care to children under the age of five.

Photo: An MSF staff member measures a child’s mid-upper arm circumferance to check for malnutrition in Mogadishu. Somalia 2012 © Mike Woodman/MSF

Responding to Urgent Nutritional Needs on the Outskirts of Mogadishu

Years of intense violence, drought, malnutrition, and infectious disease have wrecked the Somali health system and displaced thousands of Somalis from their homes. While food security seems to have improved since 2011, MSF assessment shows that malnutrition rates are still alarming in many parts of the country, including the outskirts of Mogadishu.

According to this assessment, one in four children living in camps outside the Somali capital are malnourished. In response to this critical situation, an MSF team launched an emergency three-day intervention to provide urgent nutritional treatment and on-site medical care to children under the age of five.

Photo: MSF staff measures a child’s height and weight, seeking to determine his level of nutrition.  South Sudan 2012 © John Stanmyer/VII Photo
Eyewitnesses to an EmergencyReport from South Sudan
Though it hasn’t gotten much attention, an immense refugee emergency continues to unfold in South Sudan. In the young country’s Unity and Upper Nile states, roughly 170,000 Sudanese refugees are living in camps that were, for much of the summer, sprawling, muddy tracts of hardship and sickness. The refugees had escaped state-sponsored aerial bombardments in their homelands, but MSF’s epidemiological teams documented mortality rates in some of the camps well above, and in some cases double, the World Health Organization’s emergency threshold for refugee situations.
MSF, which had been working among the refugees in Yida, in Unity state, and in Upper Nile state’s Maban County, rapidly scaled up its response, adding scores of international and national staff , taking on tasks—drilling boreholes for water, for instance—normally outside its purview, and working around huge logistical challenges posed by both South Sudan’s war-torn history and the onset of the rainy season.
“It was the most challenging ten weeks of my life. It’s a tragedy, and it was devastating to be there. We saw such high mortality, so many people dying. But also, being there and seeing MSF’s ability to respond quickly and make changes—to really bring about an improvement in the health and lives of the people in Yida—was really incredible. It was an honor to be there,” says MSF nurse John Johnson.

Photo: MSF staff measures a child’s height and weight, seeking to determine his level of nutrition.  South Sudan 2012 © John Stanmyer/VII Photo

Eyewitnesses to an Emergency
Report from South Sudan

Though it hasn’t gotten much attention, an immense refugee emergency continues to unfold in South Sudan. In the young country’s Unity and Upper Nile states, roughly 170,000 Sudanese refugees are living in camps that were, for much of the summer, sprawling, muddy tracts of hardship and sickness. The refugees had escaped state-sponsored aerial bombardments in their homelands, but MSF’s epidemiological teams documented mortality rates in some of the camps well above, and in some cases double, the World Health Organization’s emergency threshold for refugee situations.

MSF, which had been working among the refugees in Yida, in Unity state, and in Upper Nile state’s Maban County, rapidly scaled up its response, adding scores of international and national staff , taking on tasks—drilling boreholes for water, for instance—normally outside its purview, and working around huge logistical challenges posed by both South Sudan’s war-torn history and the onset of the rainy season.

It was the most challenging ten weeks of my life. It’s a tragedy, and it was devastating to be there. We saw such high mortality, so many people dying. But also, being there and seeing MSF’s ability to respond quickly and make changes—to really bring about an improvement in the health and lives of the people in Yida—was really incredible. It was an honor to be there,” says MSF nurse John Johnson.

Photo: A young patient looks into the camera while an MSF nurse talks to her mother at an MSF feeding center in Angara. Chad 2012 © Florian Lems
Chad’s Hunger Season Ends But Malnutrition Remains
Every year, the people of Chad face recurrent food crises, putting tremendous strain on families and communities.
"We have made a small step forward,” says Marcus Bachmann, MSF’s project coordinator in Biltine. “The total number of children in our program has decreased—from 1,300 in June to 1,000 in September. But we are still seeing an average of 200 new admissions per week. That means there are still many severely malnourished children."
Though the hunger season may be drawing to a close, underlying problems remain and need to be addressed.

Photo: A young patient looks into the camera while an MSF nurse talks to her mother at an MSF feeding center in Angara. Chad 2012 © Florian Lems

Chad’s Hunger Season Ends But Malnutrition Remains

Every year, the people of Chad face recurrent food crises, putting tremendous strain on families and communities.

"We have made a small step forward,” says Marcus Bachmann, MSF’s project coordinator in Biltine. “The total number of children in our program has decreased—from 1,300 in June to 1,000 in September. But we are still seeing an average of 200 new admissions per week. That means there are still many severely malnourished children."

Though the hunger season may be drawing to a close, underlying problems remain and need to be addressed.

Photo: Two-year-old Fadilla before and after receiving treatment for severe malnutrition and tuberculosis. 
When Fadilla’s grandmother brought her to the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Am Timan, Chad, she wasn’t just malnourished – she was sick and in danger of dying.
At just 13 pounds, Fadilla weighed only about half of what a two-year-old child should. At the hospital, our teams diagnosed her with severe acute malnutrition and tuberculosis – two life-threatening medical conditions.
Malnutrition is a serious medical condition, and recovery only gets more difficult when illnesses like malaria or tuberculosis are also present. But with quality medical treatment, even children as sick as Fadilla can make a full recovery. It’s possible thanks to innovations like 33-cent packets of milk-based ready-to-use therapeutic food that are so simple to administer – most malnourished children can be treated by their parents or caregivers at home.
Fadilla’s tuberculosis meant she had to stay in the hospital, but after months of intensive treatment, the brightness returned to Fadilla’s eyes and she reached her target weight. “Look at Fadilla now!” her grandmother exclaimed to the hospital staff. “She is doing so much better!”
Thanks to the support of our donors, we treated 408,000 malnourished children last year. Our medical teams are able to travel to some of the most remote, dangerous, and neglected parts of the world to identify and treat children, like Fadilla, suffering from malnutrition.
There’s hope for even the most severely malnourished child. If we can reach them in time, treatments like therapeutic foods can help children who might not otherwise survive.
Donate to help Doctors Without Borders save the lives of malnourished children and bring quality medical care to people in nearly 70 countries around the world.

Photo: Two-year-old Fadilla before and after receiving treatment for severe malnutrition and tuberculosis. 

When Fadilla’s grandmother brought her to the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Am Timan, Chad, she wasn’t just malnourished – she was sick and in danger of dying.

At just 13 pounds, Fadilla weighed only about half of what a two-year-old child should. At the hospital, our teams diagnosed her with severe acute malnutrition and tuberculosis – two life-threatening medical conditions.

Malnutrition is a serious medical condition, and recovery only gets more difficult when illnesses like malaria or tuberculosis are also present. But with quality medical treatment, even children as sick as Fadilla can make a full recovery. It’s possible thanks to innovations like 33-cent packets of milk-based ready-to-use therapeutic food that are so simple to administer – most malnourished children can be treated by their parents or caregivers at home.

Fadilla’s tuberculosis meant she had to stay in the hospital, but after months of intensive treatment, the brightness returned to Fadilla’s eyes and she reached her target weight. “Look at Fadilla now!” her grandmother exclaimed to the hospital staff. “She is doing so much better!”

Thanks to the support of our donors, we treated 408,000 malnourished children last year. Our medical teams are able to travel to some of the most remote, dangerous, and neglected parts of the world to identify and treat children, like Fadilla, suffering from malnutrition.

There’s hope for even the most severely malnourished child. If we can reach them in time, treatments like therapeutic foods can help children who might not otherwise survive.

Donate to help Doctors Without Borders save the lives of malnourished children and bring quality medical care to people in nearly 70 countries around the world.

An Escalating Health Crisis in South Sudan

Above: Asha Jibril cares for her two-year-old daughter Aziza Haran in the ITFC at MSF’s field hospital in Batil camp. A lack of nutritious food and clean water have left Aziza severely acutely malnourished and severely dehydrated. 

Since November 2011, MSF has been operating emergency programs in South Sudan for tens of thousands of refugees who fled violence in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. MSF has field hospitals in five refugee camps in Unity and Upper Nile states in South Sudan (Batil, Doro, Jamam, Yida, and Gendrassa). However, resources in the camps are stretched extremely thin, and the humanitarian crisis is only worsening as more refugees arrive. Heavy rains have exacerbated the situation, flooding camps and leaving refugees—many of whom have already endured the journey from Sudan on foot—vulnerable to diseases like diarrhea, malaria, and cholera.Photo: South Sudan 2012 © Nichole Sobecki

An Escalating Health Crisis in South Sudan

Above: Asha Jibril cares for her two-year-old daughter Aziza Haran in the ITFC at MSF’s field hospital in Batil camp. A lack of nutritious food and clean water have left Aziza severely acutely malnourished and severely dehydrated.

Since November 2011, MSF has been operating emergency programs in South Sudan for tens of thousands of refugees who fled violence in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. MSF has field hospitals in five refugee camps in Unity and Upper Nile states in South Sudan (Batil, Doro, Jamam, Yida, and Gendrassa). However, resources in the camps are stretched extremely thin, and the humanitarian crisis is only worsening as more refugees arrive. Heavy rains have exacerbated the situation, flooding camps and leaving refugees—many of whom have already endured the journey from Sudan on foot—vulnerable to diseases like diarrhea, malaria, and cholera.

Photo: South Sudan 2012 © Nichole Sobecki

An Escalating Health Crisis in South Sudan

Above: Two-year-old Lastman Muthko was brought to the MSF field hospital in Doro camp earlier this morning by his mother Mariam [left]. He is suffering from severe malaria and has had difficulty breathing.

Since November 2011, MSF has been operating emergency programs in South Sudan for tens of thousands of refugees who fled violence in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. MSF has field hospitals in five refugee camps in Unity and Upper Nile states in South Sudan (Batil, Doro, Jamam, Yida, and Gendrassa). However, resources in the camps are stretched extremely thin, and the humanitarian crisis is only worsening as more refugees arrive. Heavy rains have exacerbated the situation, flooding camps and leaving refugees—many of whom have already endured the journey from Sudan on foot—vulnerable to diseases like diarrhea, malaria, and cholera.Photo:South Sudan 2012 © Nichole Sobecki

An Escalating Health Crisis in South Sudan

Above: Two-year-old Lastman Muthko was brought to the MSF field hospital in Doro camp earlier this morning by his mother Mariam [left]. He is suffering from severe malaria and has had difficulty breathing.

Since November 2011, MSF has been operating emergency programs in South Sudan for tens of thousands of refugees who fled violence in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. MSF has field hospitals in five refugee camps in Unity and Upper Nile states in South Sudan (Batil, Doro, Jamam, Yida, and Gendrassa). However, resources in the camps are stretched extremely thin, and the humanitarian crisis is only worsening as more refugees arrive. Heavy rains have exacerbated the situation, flooding camps and leaving refugees—many of whom have already endured the journey from Sudan on foot—vulnerable to diseases like diarrhea, malaria, and cholera.

Photo:South Sudan 2012 © Nichole Sobecki

It’s unjust that children are still dying of measles, but how do we vaccinate them when it’s impossible to reach certain areas? There are no easy answers, but I still find this appalling. The same for malnutrition. The soil is so fertile there that you can drop anything on the ground and it’ll grow. There shouldn’t be any malnutrition.

Anna Halford, returning from a four-month mission as a project coordinator in DRC, reflects on the work MSF does to help people enduring daily violence.

At the end of 2011, MSF was the target of a violent attack in Masisi, North Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This incident forced the organization to reduce its teams between that November and April of this year. Activities have resumed, but the security situation remains tense.

Read this interview with Anna Halford from her time working with MSF in DRC.

I am awed by the mothers and fathers who have walked for days, and sometimes weeks, carrying their children to safety, away from the conflict or the famine or the natural disaster that has overtaken them. It is what I think of now when I read the blog by Ruby, the MSF epidemiologist, who has been working in the refugee camps of northern South Sudan. We all just want to look after our families, and to do that people sometimes need help.

I have been home for a while now and am only able to begin to process the experiences, the good and the not so good, of working in South Sudan, and my return from this struggling, fragile country.
Lorna Adams is a Canadian Family Physician, who has recently returned from working for MSF in the world’s newest country, South Sudan. Now back at home in Canada, her blog is being published retrospectively. Read more…
South Sudan: “What We Are Facing Is An Extremely Serious Situation”

About 100,000 refugees fleeing the fighting in the Sudanese state of Blue Nile have taken refuge in Maban County in South Sudan. In the camp of Batil, home to 34,000 people, malnutrition is increasing. More than 1,000 children have been admitted to Doctors Without Borders’ nutritional programs, and the number continues to rise as the humanitarian response struggles to keep up with the needs.

Photo:A child is examined for symptoms of malnutrition at Jamam refugee camp in Upper Nile State.
South Sudan 2012 © Robin Meldrum/MSF

South Sudan: “What We Are Facing Is An Extremely Serious Situation”

About 100,000 refugees fleeing the fighting in the Sudanese state of Blue Nile have taken refuge in Maban County in South Sudan. In the camp of Batil, home to 34,000 people, malnutrition is increasing. More than 1,000 children have been admitted to Doctors Without Borders’ nutritional programs, and the number continues to rise as the humanitarian response struggles to keep up with the needs.

Photo:A child is examined for symptoms of malnutrition at Jamam refugee camp in Upper Nile State.
South Sudan 2012 © Robin Meldrum/MSF

Watch Sudanese Seek Shelter in Swampy Refugee Camp on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

This video, from the PBS Blog "The Rundown," describes the plight of thousands of Sudanese refugees who fled violence in Blue Nile State only to face a humanitarian crisis in overcrowded camps in South Sudan.

Fighting Unusually High Malnutrition Rates in Chad and Preparing for Worse

As a food crisis continues to spread and levels of severe acute malnutrition continue to rise in Chad, MSF is expanding the number of emergency malnutrition treatment programs it is operating in the country. Even in a normal year, Chad has one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world. This year is showing signs of being worse than usual. In early 2012, in some areas of the country, rates of global acute malnutrition as high as 24 percent have already been reported among children under the age of five.Why are there such alarming rates of malnutrition in Biltine?
February is the beginning of the hunger gap in Chad, when families traditionally begin to run out of their food stocks. This year MSF found high rates of severe acute malnutrition rates among children under five, because only 46 percent of the harvest required to feed the population was harvested, which is well below the average. Many Chadians who worked in Libya also lost their jobs and returned home. Those men have moved to other parts of Chad to find work, but the salaries are much lower, so they are sending home less money.A staff member uses a MUAC to check a child for malnutrition at an MSF hospital in Chad.
Chad 2012 © Andrea Bussotti/MSF

Fighting Unusually High Malnutrition Rates in Chad and Preparing for Worse

As a food crisis continues to spread and levels of severe acute malnutrition continue to rise in Chad, MSF is expanding the number of emergency malnutrition treatment programs it is operating in the country. Even in a normal year, Chad has one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world. This year is showing signs of being worse than usual. In early 2012, in some areas of the country, rates of global acute malnutrition as high as 24 percent have already been reported among children under the age of five.

Why are there such alarming rates of malnutrition in Biltine?

February is the beginning of the hunger gap in Chad, when families traditionally begin to run out of their food stocks. This year MSF found high rates of severe acute malnutrition rates among children under five, because only 46 percent of the harvest required to feed the population was harvested, which is well below the average. Many Chadians who worked in Libya also lost their jobs and returned home. Those men have moved to other parts of Chad to find work, but the salaries are much lower, so they are sending home less money.

A staff member uses a MUAC to check a child for malnutrition at an MSF hospital in Chad.

Chad 2012 © Andrea Bussotti/MSF

Seeing firsthand the distance so many families have to travel in order to seek basic treatment here, I worry about what the months of the hunger gap will bring when the effects of food insecurity and lack of access to early medical treatment are intertwined.
An MSF nurse writes about the positive impact community health workers have on preventing malnutrition in Chad. Read more.

Chad: On the Brink of a Peak in Malnutrition

MSF is working to treat malnourished children in Chad and elsewhere in the Sahel region as a nutritional crisis looms.

Somalia: “Today the Child is Completely Different Than [the] Day He Was Admitted”

Four-year-old Khalif has been under treatment in MSF’s inpatient therapeutic feeding center in the southern Somali town of Kismayo for just over two weeks when his mother, Abshiro Gedi, tells his remarkable story.

The family lives in Mayondo village, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) north of Kismayo, in an area that has been heavily affected by the ongoing crisis in Somalia. Two of Khalif’s brothers recently died from complications related to measles, and Khalif and his sister were also suffering from the disease. When one of Abshiro’s brothers, who lives in Kismayo, heard the bad news about his nephews’ deaths and illness, he hurried to Mayando to bring the two remaining sick kids to MSF’s therapeutic feeding center for malnourished children in Kismayo.

Once there, Khalif was admitted as he had signs of severe malnutrition. “Today the child is completely different than [the] day he was admitted,” explained Abdirasak Sheikh Abdiwahab, MSF project coordinator assistant in Kismayo’s center for malnourished children. “Cases like this who improve quickly are many, not only Khalif, but this is a [good example of the conditions people face here].”

To read the rest of the story and to learn more about MSF’s work in Somalia click here.

Photo: Somalia 2011 © Sven Torfinn

Somalia: “Today the Child is Completely Different Than [the] Day He Was Admitted”

Four-year-old Khalif has been under treatment in MSF’s inpatient therapeutic feeding center in the southern Somali town of Kismayo for just over two weeks when his mother, Abshiro Gedi, tells his remarkable story.

The family lives in Mayondo village, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) north of Kismayo, in an area that has been heavily affected by the ongoing crisis in Somalia. Two of Khalif’s brothers recently died from complications related to measles, and Khalif and his sister were also suffering from the disease. When one of Abshiro’s brothers, who lives in Kismayo, heard the bad news about his nephews’ deaths and illness, he hurried to Mayando to bring the two remaining sick kids to MSF’s therapeutic feeding center for malnourished children in Kismayo.

Once there, Khalif was admitted as he had signs of severe malnutrition. “Today the child is completely different than [the] day he was admitted,” explained Abdirasak Sheikh Abdiwahab, MSF project coordinator assistant in Kismayo’s center for malnourished children. “Cases like this who improve quickly are many, not only Khalif, but this is a [good example of the conditions people face here].”

To read the rest of the story and to learn more about MSF’s work in Somalia click here.

Photo: Somalia 2011 © Sven Torfinn