Feeding Programme Saves Calvin’s Life
Feeding Programme Saves Calvin’s Life
Calvin is a 3 year old boy abandoned by his mother at a tender age of 1 year and 6 months. He is a beneficiary of the Targeted Supplementary Feeding Program (TSFP) implemented by Alliance Forum for Development-Uganda. He is suffering from moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). Catherine the step-mother to Calvin is now taking care of him together with his father Jeremiah from Monodu village in Kuluba Sub-County Koboko district. The boy is suffering from severe wasting, and has brown hair as well as brown eyes with no oedema (a condition characterized by body swellings).
Calvin was born pre-maturely at 6 months, not the normal expected months of delivery at 9 months, which offers limited survival chance especially for a boy child whose body parts are not properly developed, a delicate stage that most infants rarely survive. The child was incubated until when his condition improved that he was discharged. Calvin’s mother was not staying with her husband as she was in the republic of Congo while the father was in Koboko district in the West-Nile region, Uganda. After the child had reached 1 year and 6 months, the mother abandoned him with the grandmother and got married to another man in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Despite the fact that the child was not fine, the mother left him with the old grandmother who tried to look after him despite her weak and miserable condition. However, when the grandmother saw that the condition of her grandson was deteriorating, she sent a message to the father to pick him up but all in vain, the grandmother decided to bring Calvin herself to the father in Koboko-Uganda. The step-mother was unhappy about Calvin’s coming as she thought that he had been brought to die since his condition was appalling. She kept on complaining to her husband to take him back to Congo but he was hesitant. This was due to the pressure she was facing from looking after the frail Calvin, the family and garden work, thus giving her limited time for cultivation which was her main source of income. More so, community members were also discouraging her from taking care of Calvin; saying that the child had only been brought to die there and be buried in the fathers land as no one saw signs of him surviving.
When AFOD staff members went for a health outreach in Monodu village, Calvin was brought to the attention of the staff, immediately; his middle upper arm circumference (MUAC screening test) was taken and referred to Kuluba HC II to be enrolled for TSFP, a combination of CSB++ on the 17th August, 2017 with a body weight of 6.1kgs and MUAC of 11.6cm respectively. After two weeks, AFOD’s monitoring team of nutrition assistants conducted a follow up visit, where another test was conducted where Calvin had gained 0.3kgs and 0.6cm by 31st August, 2017. Catherine became happy and appreciated the good work that AFOD was doing and was only calling upon God for blessings. Her concern however was that, the young boy liked the porridge so much that he wanted to eat it all the time. In addition, the other young children used to cry as Calvin was taking his porridge. In this regard, the AFOD team advised her on milling maize and giving them grain porridge at the same time as their brother, Calvin. She also gives beans and fish which Calvin is now eating with a good appetite. After the two weeks, an improvement in diarrhoea was observed and the hair colour now turning black. Catherine and Jeremiah were truly grateful and appreciated the project and wanted it to go for many more years.
Catherine was quoted saying, “if AFOD had not come to Koboko, I do not know whether Calvin would be alive by now”.
At first, Catherine would go to the garden without preparing any meal for the children. After attending health education facilitated by AFOD staff members, she was able to prepare porridge before going to the farm land and would always go home early to prepare lunch. In addition, the family was only depending on cassava flour as their daily meal; in that if there was no cassava flour, there would be no food for the family. The community members who at first discouraged Catherine from taking care of Calvin eventually started giving hope to Catherine as Calvin’s situation had improved due to TSFP. They started encouraging her to look after him as he was going to live and would be helpful to her in future.