Farida, 25, and Shamsul, 16 months
16-month-old Shamsul was born with a cleft palate and lip. From birth he has struggled to feed, only consuming around 1/3 of his mother’s milk each time and falling dangerously below weight.
Around 8 months ago, the Save the Children Suchana programme arrived in his village. Shefa, Shamsul’s community mobiliser, realised immediately that he needed urgent help – he was incredibly small and had a fever. Shefa supported Farida with advice on the best foods to help him gain weight, and referred him to the Doctor in the community clinic in March, who sent him to the hospital where he was hospitalized for malnutrition treatment and prescribed supplementary milk.
In June, the Suchana programme expanded in the village to include a programme of measuring and monitoring of children under two, including Shamsul. Shefa started monitoring Shamsul in detail at this time. Since then he has increased in weight and Farida credits this with the nutrition advice and support from Suchana.
And Farida is getting other critical support from Suchana – she has been provided with seedlings and has now learnt how to grow crops that will survive the yearly floods that swamp her home. But even with this help and the support of the community mobiliser, the situation is still precarious – the cleft palate continues to affect Shamsul’s eating and weight gain and he can’t have surgery to correct it until he’s a healthy weight.