WE LIVE IN A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE...
While many countries struggle with obesity and health problems resulting from being overweight, we tragically are still seeing children arrive with severe malnutrition. Sometimes this may be secondary to some other disease such as Tuberculosis or HIV or just to recurrent infections such as gastro-enteritis or worms, but the vast majority are due to poverty. Some of the saddest cases are those whose protein levels have dropped so low that they have developed oedema, swelling of the body due to fluid moving from the circulation into the tissues. If untreated the skin will start to break down and ulcerate.
I had another patient last week who came to us with horrific ulcers around the mouth and the skin was peeling off making an already very weak and vulnerable child wide open to infections. I cannot publish pictures of that child on the blog as they are too gross and upsetting.
The child died after a couple of days, she had just come far too late for treatment to work. Heartbreaking in a world where we can unravel the human genome, perform extraordinary transplant surgery and manipulate microscopic cells....
WE CAN MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE...
The weight chart is for the child in the sequence above and shows how much weight the child lost as she improved and the excessive fluid in her tissues was lost. Of course she then started to put on weight as her proper growth started to recover.
We are so grateful to many members of our Staff and to our visiting paediatric registrar Dr. Sunil who have helped to recently upgrade and develop our malnutrition programme. This includes the production in Kisiizi of "KisiiziNut" based on peanut to a World Health Organization recipe. This is a "Ready to Use Therapeutic Feed" which has the great advantage over milk-based approaches that it can be stored in the village setting without needing a fridge.
The programme also includes setting up a demonstration garden to help families see how they can improve the diet of the children when they return home. There is also a new chicken house to provide eggs for the children on the ward.
We hope to expand the programme and start screening children in the community and provide KisiiziNut to the borderline cases in the hope it will prevent them needing to be admitted. Clearly prevention is far better than cure so we are trying to increase health promotion including family planning so the number of children to feed is reduced and education about practical and affordable ways of improving childhood nutrition. In addition we continue to have our Goat Project which supports very poor families by providing them with a pregnant goat. Once the goat delivers, usually two kids, one is returned to the project and the family keep the other and the second kid. This gives them a chance for a fresh start and helps break the relentless cycle of poverty that otherwise traps them.
Kisiizi operates as a not-for-profit hospital. One of our themes is "care for the vulnerable". If anyone reading this blog would like to make a donation to help Kisiizi make a world of difference to some of these vulnerable patients we would be extremely grateful. Please see our hospital website page with details of how you may do this.... click on the link below.
|During and after treatment...|