“I have been receiving services from World Vision’s nutrition centre for the last 11 months,” says Sowkat, who has five children, including Ankis. “During my pregnancy, I attended counselling sessions here. Staff members advised me to eat nutritious foods, such as colourful vegetables, fish, meat and fruit. They also demonstrated how to prepare the food.”
Ankis was registered at the centre on 4 June 2020 when she was just five months old.
“We found that Ankis had moderate acute malnutrition. Her mother couldn’t breastfeed her because she was ill,” says Mohammad Hamid Al Muktadir, supervisor of the centre.
Ankis was given supplementary Super Cereal and PlumpySup to help her gain weight, and her health is monitored monthly at the centre.
“Ankis receives 28 small packets of PlumpySup every month. We give her one pack each day. She really likes it,” laughs Sowkat, as Ankis licks the PlumpySup wrapper hungrily. “In just one month, I already see an improvement. She looks healthier. I am happy to see my daughter looking happy.”
Sowkat is hopeful about her daughter’s future. “We were given shelter here in Bangladesh. If agencies like World Vision had not come forward to save our children’s lives, we would have been crying in the wilderness, watching them suffer,” she says. “The support we have received is an endless blessing for us and our children.”
Ankis is steadily recovering, growing stronger each day.
An estimated 860,000 Rohingya refugees reside here in the world’s largest refugee camp. Extreme violence and decades of human rights abuses in Myanmar forced them to flee their homes in August 2017. Children constitute almost half (51 percent) of the refugee population; of those 18 percent are under age 5.
A government study conducted soon after the influx revealed that 13 percent of children in the camps have moderate acute malnutrition.
That means more than 208,000 children aged 0-59 months need life-saving nutrition interventions. Child malnutrition is the single biggest contributor to deaths in children under age 5, making them more susceptible to diseases and slower recovery from common illnesses. To address this, World Vision opened a malnutrition prevention and treatment centre in five refugee camps to reach 16,303 at-risk children.
At the World Vision centres, which are operated in partnership with the World Food Programme and UNICEF, children are weighed, measured and their nutritional status assessed. To help prevent malnutrition, World Vision supplies all 16,300 children under age 5 in the five camps with monthly rations of Super Cereal.
This blend of corn, soybeans, milk powder, sugar, soybean oil is packed with vitamins and complements breastfeeding. Through the Super Cereal, children receive the nutrients they need to stay healthy—Vitamin A, D3, E, K, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, Calcium, Folic acid, Niacin, Biotin, Iodine, Iron, and Zinc.
Children who are underweight for their height, and who are assessed as suffering from moderate acute malnutrition, receive the Super Cereal, as well as PlumpySup—a ready-to-use, high-energy food supplement. World Vision staff members teach mothers how to properly prepare the Super Cereal and to use the PlumpySup. Mothers who are pregnant or lactating also receive a ration of food to boost their nutrition while they breastfeed.
Since the programme began in January 2020, 501 children assessed as having severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have been closely monitored by World Vision’s nutrition team. To date, 227 of the children have reached their normal weight-for-height; the remainder is continuing to steadily progress.
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World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Working in nearly 100 countries around the world, World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.