Improving child nutrition

Nikuze, a mother in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has changed her children’s eating habits in order to ensure their healthy growth and development.

Bibiane Mouangue Dikobo (translated from French by Lorraine Valarino)
Nikuse tient son enfant dans les bras
UNICEF DRC Dikobo
16 October 2020

Rwanguba, North Kivu province - A few weeks ago Nikuse saw the rapid deterioration of her daughter’s health. Aged 3 years old, Rwisiya had a high fever, swollen feet and cheeks. Nikuze had tried all possible treatments to bring down the fever but nothing seemed to work.

“I was hesitant to go to the medical centre because I didn’t have any money”, remembers Nikuse who was worried about her daughter. It was only during the visit of a community relay that the mother realised how serious the situation was. Alarmed by the oedemas on Rwisiya’s legs the community relay immediately drove the little girl to the medical centre in Kabindi.

Thanks to the ‘voucher transfer’ donated by the community relay, Rwisiya was taken care of for free: she was suffering from severe acute malnutrition. She was hospitalised for a week and then treated as an outpatient for a month and a half. 

Thanks to deworming, vitamin A supplements, amoxicillin syrup, plumpy’nut (a peanut-based paste) and the dietary recommendations that the care staff provided her mother, she regained her health.

During this time, Nikuze attended various educational talks and cooking demonstrations organised at the medical centre which shared good nutrition practices with pregnant women and mothers. Since her daughters recovery Nikuze has wholly invested herself into providing good nutrition to her five children and she knows how to make a balanced meal.

  “Before, I would leave my children all day without feeding them”, admits Nikuze who is aware that good nutrition guarantees optimal growth. “I am very careful to give them a balanced diet in quantity and quality”.

Since May 2019, more than 2,000 children suffering from acute severe malnutrition have been taken into care in the health zone in Rwanguba, in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo thanks to financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).