First success in the fight against malnutrition

by Simone Winneg, 2010/07/27

Coordinator Simone Winneg works until late at night in order to fight the famine in Niger. The mere term of “famine” has developed into a disaster, the extent of which can hardly be imagined. Fight for those suffering from malnutrition every day is her motto. And despite all the misery, there are first signs of success again and again, as she describes in her report below.

“Three weeks have passed since the first in-patient was registered at the humedica hospital. With his scarcely two kilos, little two-year old Mahamadou weighed even less than most newborns in Germany.

He still is merely a fistful of life, but he is recovering: little Mahamadou in Simone’s arms. Photo: humedica

Due to his critical state of malnutrition, he and his mother spent three weeks in our care. Intensive care was necessary in order to feed him up again: he was fed special milk every three hours both day and night.

The daily tasks of our nurses contained a daily weight check and measuring of his temperature and of course also important hygiene and health education was provided to his mother. By means of huge efforts and a lot of work, but above all by giving much love and affection, the team at the humedica hospital succeeded in bringing our first official in-patient back into life.

When he was dismissed after a stay of three weeks – weighing almost three kilos – he admittedly was still small and slight, but he showed first hints of baby fat, had small chubby cheeks and a lively look in his eyes.

His recovery and the change in his mother’s behaviour which took place in parallel brought us great joy every day: the more weight the child gained, the more lovingly his young mother cared for him.

This might sound dramatic, but when she came to our hospital she had lost any joy in the child. No longer did she believe that we would be able to get his severe state of malnutrition under control. She had already lost two children because she was unable to provide enough milk and her hope for little Mahamadou to stay alive was vanishing rapidly.

Day by day we watched her recovery and in the end she even played with him – a scene which is quite uncommon in Niger in the current situation. Both glad of finally being able to go home, but also a little sad she said: “Ay sabou aranse goummo!” That is the language spoken by the locals and means “I am very grateful to you”.

After a stay of three weeks little Mahamadou and his mother could leave the hospital again – taking a mosquito net, a gift from Simone Wiinneg, with them. Photo: humedica

We gave them a “dismissal ration of additional food” provided to us by the German Federal Foreign Office and then we dismissed them confidently. For some time still, little Mahamadou will visit us once a week in order to have his weight checked and we will provide rations of additional food to him and his mother on a regular basis.

Every day we take in numerous more malnourished children at our hospital. Mostly they have almost lost any will to live. They do not want to drink, eat, speak or even lift their heads.

This fact makes every little progress an even greater joy. If a shy smile lights our patients’ faces once or twice a day or if we realise that our emaciated little patients are still struggling to keep alive, it shows that we are achieving some success. By means of a special training measure that could be carried through thanks to UNICEF, the high-quality material provided by humedica and a large amount of patience and perseverance, the hospital team is able to help these children.

Therefore the thanks of our little patients’ mothers and of the whole hospital team in Kollo also goes above all to you, dear friends and sponsors. It is your support that made the positive reversal of the fate of little Mahamadou and his family possible at all.

„Ay sabou aranse goummo“

Please continue supporting us in the fight against the famine in order to offer relief to the many children in misery.

Kind regards,
Simone Winneg"

Dear friends and sponsors, together with our coordinator Simone Winneg and the humedica team in Kollo we extend a helping hand to those suffering from hunger. Take over responsibility for the people of Niger together with us. Even a small donation can indeed save the life of a child like Mahamadou.

      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference "Famine Niger"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You can also make a substantial contribution to fighting famine in Niger by means of an online donation or by sending a short, fast, uncomplicated and secure text message:
simply send DOC to the abbreviated dialling +49 8 11 90 and support us with a one-time donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica project work. Thank you very much.

Joint steps on the road to recovery: little Jamsia has already learned once more how to smile and she can almost sit up without assistance. Photo: humedica/Simone Winneg

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