The LFHC staff is ever-vigilant for signs of malnutrition in the children they see.
Last year, more than 150 children were treated for severe or moderate malnutrition. Hospital administrators have started a follow-up clinic that includes test-feeding (under medical supervision) of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF).
Nearly 3 tons of RUFT were imported this year to ensure an adequate supply of this vital medication for the malnourished children in the region.
The hospital’s therapeutic food program is designed to dramatically reduce the need to hospitalize malnourished children for long periods (Read more here).
Stunted growth, caused by poor nutrition, continues to be a serious problem in many rural regions of Laos.
In March 2018, the World Bank reported that Laos has reduced poverty and hunger and improved education and health outcomes in recent years. However, the nation lags in the area of child nutrition, the World Bank stated, noting that stunted growth impacts 44 percent of children under the age of five. A recent report by the nongovernmental organization Save the Children cited the same percentage of stunted growth children.
Lao officials issued a report in June asserting that the rate of stunting from malnutrition among children under the age of five had dropped to 33 percent in 2017 from 44 percent in 2011. The officials stressed that malnutrition remains a concern in several provinces, including Luang Prabang Province, according to a report published by Radio Free Asia in July.
Globally, about 45 percent of the deaths among children under the age of five are linked to poor nutrition, according to a UNICEF article published in October.