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Case Study

MTCs saving lives

Meera was just one year old when she began suffering from vomiting, diarrhoea and a high fever. She was brought to the Community Health Centre at Rishabdev where she was diagnosed as Severely Acute Malnourished and referred to the MTC by the doctor, who advised that she be admitted as soon as possible as her condition was critical. She had not been eating properly and was losing weight.

Her mother was unaware of the severity of the problem but thought that her daughter was suffering from a minor ailment and would recover soon.

She said, ‘The child is normal; she just has vomiting and diarrhoea.’ She didn’t know anything about malnutrition. Meera was admitted weighing just over 5 kg, with a height of 64 cm, putting her in the most critical category. She stayed at the MTC for 13 days and started showing signs of recovery soon after her treatment began.  She began to eat the food she was given in the MTC, which was rich in energy, fat and protein. When she was discharged from the MTC after 13 days she weighed 5.4 kg, could hold her head up, which she was unable to do before, and was much more active. She is now in the normal category in relation to nutritional status.


Rapid treatment for children with severe acute malnutrition

When a child is suspected of suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), he or she is referred to one of Seva Mandir's relatively new CMAM camps. A vehicle is sent to bring mother and child to the camp, to ensure their presence and also to avoid a mother having to walk a long way with a weak child. The trained nurses at the camp measure his or her height and weight and decide what category the child falls into.

At a recent camp, several of the children examined after referral from their Anganwadi were found to be healthy, but a one-year-old boy, Ashwin, was found to be in the SAM category. The nurses examined him thoroughly and then produced a pack of RUTF (ready-to-eat therapeutic food) and asked the mother to give her son a tiny taste while he was observed to make sure he did not show any signs of an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients. Once the nurses were confident that it was safe for him to take the food, the mother was provided with enough RUTF for two weeks. His parents will bring him back to the follow-up camp in two weeks and a member of Seva Mandir field staff will visit the family in the meantime to make sure that the child is taking this life-saving food correctly.

Happily, there is a good outlook for most of the SAM children looked after by our field teams. Take Divyanshi, for example. When she was 7 ½ months old, she weighed only 4.5 kg and her height was 60cm. Like Ashwin, she was given a fortnight's supply of RUTF and our team visited her at home and gave her parents advice not just on feeding their daughter, but on hygiene and clean drinking water. After 3 ½ months of treatment and regular checks, Divyanshi has put on 2 kg and grown 6 cm. She still has some way to go, but she is on the right track. Her parents are very happy with the progress she is making.





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