The story of Mbuyi, cured of malnutrition

Over the past two years, more than 40,000 children like Mbuyi have been cared for thanks to DFID support across Kasaï-Occidental province.

Sylvie Kalumbu Lovwa (translated from French by Dorsaf N. James)
Mbuyi, guéri de la malnutrition
UNICEF DRC Lovwa

07 November 2019

“Ndundu, Tshikapa, Kananga”, says Jeannette, thinking of the long road she traveled with her children a few months ago. At the end of 2018, Jeannette was forced to leave Angola just like the more than 300.000 citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), because she did not have documents allowing her to remain on the Angolan territory.

The family, that had been living in Angola for many years, travelled more than 300 kilometers to reach relatives in Kananga, the capital of Kasaï-Occidental province. The mother could not take anything away from her old life and was left to look after her twins Mbuyi and Kanku, 2 years old.

For a month, Jeannette, Mbuyi, and Kanku slept on roadsides, in markets or churches and ate bread. Sometimes, people of goodwill came to their aid but that was not enough: Mbuyi became increasingly weak. Along the kilometers travelled on-foot, the little boy weakened and when they finally arrived in Kananga, Mbuyi no longer had any appetite.

Jeannette was distraught by her son's health condition and did not know what to do, for lack of means. Community relays then identified the newly arrived family and referred Jeannette to a UNICEF's supported health center specialized in nutrition. The teams quickly took care of little Mbuyi who was suffering from severe acute malnutrition with complications.

After a few days of treatment, Mbuyi's health condition began to improve. “I was afraid of losing my son”, admits Jeannette, relieved to see her child in better health. Over the past two years, more than 40.000 children like Mbuyi have been cared for thanks to DFID support across Kasaï-Occidental province.

Today, Jeannette is back home with Mbuji. “No more malnutrition”, firmly says the mother who decided to raise awareness in her community about good nutritional practices, essential family practices. “Breast-feeding, consumption of local food, hygiene and parcel gardens”, Says Jeannette determined to fight malnutrition.