Saving a Malnourished Baby

The parents of a 9-month-old child named Malisa became very concerned when she experienced bouts of vomiting for four days and had lost her appetite.

They brought their baby to the LFHC Outpatient Department, where the staff conducted an evaluation, which included recording her weight, height and upper arm circumference.

The staff compared Malisa’s weight and size to what would be expected for a child her age and determined that she was suffering from severe protein-calorie malnutrition.

The hospital’s nutritionist participated in Malisa’s examination and performed an appetite test.

The nutritionist instructed Malisa’s parents about proper nutrition and how to care for their daughter with RUTF (ready to use therapeutic food). Melisa was prescribed two packets of RUFT per day and her parents were given enough packets to last until they returned for a follow-up appointment.

All children brought to the Outpatient Department are assessed for malnutrition. Nearly 15% show symptoms of moderate or severe acute malnutrition.

Like many of these children, Malisa began to gain weight, thanks to the care of the doctors, nurses and nutritionist at LFHC. After several months, she had gained enough weight to leave the severe malnutrition program.

Last year, more than 150 children were treated for severe or moderate malnutrition. The hospital’s therapeutic food program is designed to dramatically reduce the need to hospitalize malnourished children for long periods.