Many factors, including food insecurity, poverty, limited access to healthcare, mentality, ignorance, and lack of family planning, make acute malnutrition a persistent problem that affects many children. To tackle this problem, in April and May 2023, Caritas Rwanda’s Gikuriro Kuri Bose program collected data on all affected children in the Rulindo district and allocated Frw 1,475,000 to help their families undertake a 12-day rehabilitation process. A total of 197 malnourished children were rehabilitated
For this noble cause, the Gikuriro Kuri Bose (GKB) program worked with dedicated people, including health professionals, community volunteers, and local leaders. The GKB program also involved the same stakeholders to initiate a comprehensive rehabilitation of acute malnutrition for all affected children.
To ensure a holistic approach, GKB worked with the Rulindo District to develop a program that encompasses various components, including nutritional supplementation, health services, community education, and economic empowerment initiatives. The financial support that the program has provided to beneficiaries has enabled them to purchase nutrient-rich foods such as ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs), milk, and locally available nutritious foods to feed the affected children and meet their nutritional needs. Each household received 9,000 Rwf for this activity.
197 children who previously suffered from severe malnutrition are showing signs of improvement. Their weight and height have increased and their general state of health has improved considerably. The program’s emphasis on continuous monitoring and follow-up will enable the rehabilitation process to continue until the children have fully recovered.
GKB staff, C&EHO (Community & Environmental Health Officer) health professionals, and nutritionists were involved in the monitoring and treatment of these children, ensuring their progress and recovery. In addition, the program focused on educating and raising awareness in the community to reduce the rate of malnutrition. Educating caregivers and community members about the causes, symptoms, and prevention of acute malnutrition, in particular through the monthly Children’s Day, an innovative idea proposed by GKB and adopted by the Rulindo district makes it possible to organise Village Nutrition Schools (VNS) and GMP sessions simultaneously throughout the district. In these mobilisations, parents are made aware of the importance of good nutrition, breastfeeding, and the adoption of good hygiene practices to prevent malnutrition.
“Our child has been suffering from malnutrition for long time. We were devastated, ashamed, and shocked to always be told by community health workers that our child is in yellow in front of other mothers whose children were growing well. We were receiving the milk from HC but he could not recover. We decided to combine our efforts during the 12-day rehabilitation session, and our child has totally recovered”, testifies Beatrice Mukamana, a mother of one of the rehabilitated children (in the above picture).