Importance of Integration of Nutrition, HIV and TB health services for children under 5 years old

Miriam was diagnosed as suffering from severe acute malnutrition, the nurse-in-charge noted that Mirriam was underweight for her age

UNICEF Zimbabwe
Child with food
26 November 2021

UNICEF, with funding from the Government of Japan has been supporting the Organization for Public Health Interventions and Development (OPHID) to support the Ministry of Health and Child Care to provide integrated services of nutrition, HIV and TB for children under 5 suffering from acute malnutrition.

The OPHID Project Assistant working in Buhera District of Manicaland Province was concerned about the case of eight-month-old Miriam, who although still breast-feeding was suffering from acute malnutrition.

Eight-month-old Miriam is the last born of a family of six children.

Her father is a police officer and her mother took meticulous care of their six children. Miriam’s mother could not understand why Miriam continued to lose weight, being very worried about her child’s deteriorating condition, she took her to the local clinic.

Miriam was diagnosed as suffering from severe acute malnutrition, the nurse-in-charge noted that Mirriam was underweight for her age, she had oedema of her lower limbs, a fever, cough and was unable to breast-feed. 
Mirriam on admission to the stabilisation centre at Murambinda Hospital.

The nurse had been mentored by the OPHID Project Assistant on the importance of a rapid integrated response to children under five with severe acute malnutrition and referred Miriam as an emergency to Murambinda Mission Hospital where she was admitted into the stabilisation centre.

The nurses in the stabilisation centre also knew from the support of the UNICEF/OPHID project that Miriam, as well as being treated for severe acute malnutrition with special therapeutic milk, needed to be tested for HIV and investigated for TB. 

Mirriam tested negative for HIV but to her parents’ astonishment baby Mirriam was positive for TB. Her parents and the other five children were then tested for TB and all came back negative. Miriam commenced treatment for TB and she started gaining weight.

After two weeks she was discharged from the stabilisation centre and continued to receive treatment as an outpatient and after six weeks Miriam showed good progress and was discharged from the integrated management of acute malnutrition program.

Mirriam had delayed development milestones, but after six weeks she was able to sit on her own. Mirriam after 2 months on treatment for malnutrition and TB.

Miriam’s parents are grateful and overjoyed to have a happy healthy baby and were relieved that Mirriam was able to receive treatment for the TB, which had been the cause of her severe malnutrition.