Malnutrition as a sad everyday life

A small, emaciated body, weak arms and legs and a constant fatigue – 18 months old Emmanuel showed such severe signs of malnutrition that even our experienced Cap Anamur staff members were shocked. Treating malnutrition among children poses a challenge that is unfortunately not uncommon, also in Uganda. Besides malaria and pneumonia, malnutrition among children is part of everyday clinical practice in Uganda.

Our team at the pediatric ward in Kiryandongo, an area in western Uganda, regularly treats children with severe malnutrition. The most common reason for malnutrition among children is the parents’ poverty. Many families in Uganda simply do not have the necessary financial means to feed their children a rich and balanced diet. Currently, our German staff members together with the local nurses and caregivers are taking care of six malnourished children at the pediatrics ward. As part of the daily routine, the children are examined and gradually their diet is carefully built up. Until a child is completely healthy again it is a long journey, but with personal and medical commitment, all our young patients can, sooner or later, leave the clinic. To accomplish this goal, the necessary medical equipment is required. Medications such as vitamin A or folic acid and the right nutrition are fundamental in the treatment against malnutrition.

At the beginning of the treatment, little Emmanuel was in extremely bad shape. “We took a lot of time for Emmanuel. At first, he was extremely weak and very scared. But step by step he became stronger, started playing with us and made us laugh”, said Cap Anamur employee Nele Grapentin. Since that time, Emmanuel became a healthy and strong boy and he could be released from the clinic. His parents however bring him to the follow-up examinations regularly – much to the delight of all employees.