Tackling malnutrition locally

Within a span of four months, Mbuyu was able to be healthy again thanks to "four-star meals" prepared with foods available locally.

Une mère porte son enfant
06 June 2022

Even though the province of Tanganyika abounds with many riches, the children are among the country's most vulnerable. They suffer the devastating effects of interethnic violence which directly threatens their capacity to thrive and be healthy.

Daily life for a family devastated by the disease

Twenty-year old Jeanne is the mother of young boy named Mbuyu. She started a small business selling vegetables to support her family. She works in the market gardens from the crack of dawn and then sells her produce. 

"I saw my son becoming thinner, losing weight, nursing with difficulty and refusing to eat", explained Jeanne who was determined to do the best for her son. In spite of all her efforts, Mbuyu's health continued to decline. "His feet, arms and face began to swell", continued the mother of the family. 

From diagnosis to treatment

It was a community outreach worker who recognised Mbuyu's serious condition and convinced Jeanne to go to the health clinic nearby. Mbuyu was quickly diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition and was admitted to the ambulatory nutrition treatment unit. Mbuyu was treated with Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods and quickly began to gain weight.

When Mbuyu started his treatment, his mother Jeanne attended sessions on best food practices. It is during these sessions that she learned how to prepare a "four-star meal" with foods that are obtained locally and at a lower cost. 

The mother also received money transfers from UNICEF to help her continue to improve her child's health and nutrition. Thanks to the money she received, Jeanne can buy corn, soya and peanut paste needed to prepare the "four-star meals".

Three months after receiving his diagnosis, Mbuyu is healthier and is now back to a normal weight. UNICEF is treating 300 children with severe malnutrition in the Manono health district with the support of the German government. Money transfers not only help the poorest families meet their basic needs, but they offer advantages such as increased capacity for household production, improved dietary diversity, the frequency of their children's school attendance, etc.