Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Supplementary Food Saves Young Children

by Karin Pretorius and Wandile Mavuso, CommunicationsWhen World Vision was first introduced to Phindile Gadella (1 year, 8 months old) in March this year, she only weighed 4.5 kg – a definite sign of undernourishment. World Vision registered Phindile in the supplementary feeding program, and since then she has picked up a remarkable 2 kg.
Born to Zanele Gadella, Phindile is one of three children, of which the youngest is only one week old. “Phindile has been sick since birth. I know she did not get enough good food, but I did not have anything to give her,” Zanele explains.
As a baby, her condition deteriorated quickly, and she could not crawl or eat like other babies her age. Her whole body was swollen.
“My heart was painful because I knew my baby was going to die if I don’t get
help. I then put my trust in God, and was ready for anything to happen,” she
Zanele took Phindile to World Vision’s Gilgal ADP where they recommended that Phindile be taken to the Good Shepard Hospital in the area. She was kept in hospital where doctors were able to monitor her health, and where she stayed for four weeks. World Vision not only paid all her medical expenses, but also provided ‘e-pap’, beans and oil.
Today, Phindile is still very thin, but she’s healthy and happy. “Compared to other children she is growing very slow, but she’s healthy,” says her thankful mother.
Nokwanda Maziya (10months) was also severely malnourished before World Vision’s Unimix (supplementary food) improved her health. According to her mother, Busisiwe, mother of five, she had lost all hope for her daughter’s health improving.
“She suffered from diarrhea which took most of her weight,” says Busisiwe. “Then Nokwanda developed swollen legs and her hair turned red.”
The family of six usually eats sour porridge with milk, simply because there is nothing else to eat. The drought has destroyed most of Busisiwe’s crops, and she was only able to harvest one bag of maize.
Busisiwe took Nokwanda to the local Sitsatsaweni clinic where she was told that her child was malnourished. She was then given 2kg beans, 6kg of Unimix and 2 bottles of 750ml cooking oil to eat, donated by World Vision.
Before receiving the food from clinic, Nokwanda weighed in at only 6.8kg in February. Today the clinic recorded her weight as 8.3kg. “Now she is able to play with the other children and she now has an appetite like the other children,” Busisiwe marvels.

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