A five-year-old boy, Elton, was brought in to Pipeline Clinic of Monserado County in Liberia. He was suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting and his feet were swollen. Upon examination by health workers, he was diagnosed with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). At 6.8kg on admission, Elton’s weight was 3.6kg lower than normally expected for a child of his height.
Elton was abandoned by his mother when he was only 15 months old. Since then, Elton and his three siblings had been raised by their aunt Helena in one of the poor neighbourhoods of Monrovia. His father is a low-income earner and had been doing his best to provide for his family.
Upon admission at the health facility, Elton received routine medication and received weekly rations of ready-to-eat therapeutic food. Therapeutic food is high in nutrition and is specifically designed to treat children with SAM.
Recently, Elton was visited by health workers at home to check on his progress. The health workers found him playing with his peers and his feet were not swollen anymore. His aunt Helena told them, ‘He is now playing with other children and has gained weight.’ I am happy with his improvement and am grateful for the support I got.’
The Pipeline Clinic is one of 127 health facilities supported by The Power of Nutrition and UNICEF UK co-investment to provide this life saving service. UNICEF Liberia is providing nutrition supplies as well as trainings to MOH workers. This intervention is important since severely malnourished children are more likely to die than their well-nourished peers. Action Against Hunger has partnered with UNICEF to provide technical support to the MOH in this area. Elton is one among more than 18,000 children with SAM across Liberia who were admitted and treated in government health facilities in 2017.