“Abdala who could barely walk, is now running”

When Abdala turned 1 year and 2 months old, he was discharged from the treatment for severe acute malnutrition, his mother Nataia recalls that only a few months ago he could barely stand up.

Lídia Carvalho
3 months after starting the treatment for severe acute malnutrition, Abdala received his last medication and was discharged. "Now he plays with his friends and siblings and loves to run. He who could barely walk, is now running everywhere," says Nataia, Abdala's mother.
UNICEF Mozambique/2021/Ricardo Franco
01 December 2021

Mecúfi, Cabo Delgado - "Abdala's mother is my neighbor and I noticed that he was always feeling weak," says João Afidu, a Community Health Worker (CHW), who traced little Abdala's case and followed up on his treatment by delivering the therapeutic food to his mother every month and providing guidance on its use.

Nataia is 32 years old and lives alone with her six (6) children. She tells that the youngest, Abdala, was different from the others, "he didn't feel like playing and barely had the strength to walk." She did not know that her son was malnourished and that his health was at risk.

As soon as Abdala was screened by the CHW in the community of Mwaria, in Mecúfi district, Nataia received the sachets of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and started the treatment by following the guidelines explained by activist Luizinha, who is part of the João Afidu CHW team. "She was to give one sachet a day, dividing it between morning and afternoon. Abdala liked it a lot! It's also important before serving the treatment to always wash your hands."

Today, after 3 months of treatment, Abdala received his last medication and was discharged from hospital, as he is cured of malnutrition! "Now he plays with his friends and siblings and loves to run. He who could barely walk, is now running everywhere," says Nataia.

With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has been working with the Provincial Directorate of Health (DPS) in Cabo Delgado province, as part of its support to the nutrition program, to develop actions to reduce rates of acute malnutrition in children under 5 years of age. Actions include training of CHWs and activists, screening for malnutrition in the communities, nutrition education sessions, cooking demonstrations, as well as the provision of RUTF.