Nangarhar, Afghanistan, 23 January 2020 – One-and-a-half-year-old Gulbadin and his family left Noorgul district of Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan, due to insecurity, lack of employment, scarcity of food, and not having a breadwinner, to settle in Daman area in Behsood district of Nangarhar, five months ago.
Gulbadin’s father who is a former soldier in the Afghanistan national army, has been serving a prison term of 1.5 years for a legal case, leaving the family of seven members at the mercy of donations from the community members, often with very little to go by.
Gulbadin, who was born in Noorgul district, was quite frail at birth. As the family’s plight worsened with the struggle to survive as internally displaced people (IDPs), the overall physical health of Gulbadin deteriorated. He was brought by his mother, 31 year- old Bibi, to the Nangarhar Regional Hospital with severe wasting, (very low weight for height), along with complications including pneumonia, diarrhea and light fever.
During the physical and other required examination, the staff at the hospital found that the child, Gulbadin, was in a very critical condition - he could barely stand up - and was immediately admitted to the Therapeutic Feeding Unit (TFU) of the pediatric ward. His middle upper arm circumference (MUAC) – a standard procedure to measure the nutritional status of a child- was only 10cm, weight was 7.07kg, and length was 78cm, far below the normal weight of a child his age.
TFU technical staff started treatment and feeding procedures in an effort to save his life and stabilize him, administering rehydration solution (ReSoMal), and emergency supplementary medication including F75 therapeutic milk donated by UNICEF and antibiotics (Ceftriaxone, Gentamicin).
To the relief of all, after two days in the stabilization phase, Gulbudin showed signs of improvement. Bibi is happy, and has a smile on her face, as Gulbudin is then transferred to the transitional phase and started with F100 therapeutic milk to accelerate weight gain.