It is estimated that 100,000 children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition in Haiti. Lack of access to adequate nutrition and medical care mixed with unsanitary living conditions are a few reasons why children suffer so greatly across the country. Danita’s Children is combating this problem through our baby rescue program.
Two years ago the baby rescue program expanded it’s services and opened an inpatient malnutrition center at Danita’s Children. The center started with one nurse and one doctor. Today we have one incredible full-time pediatrician, eight full-time nurses and a handful of amazing caretakers who work together to run the 24-hour inpatient clinic. In addition to the inpatient center, our outpatient malnutrition program assists children in the community who are suffering from less severe malnutrition. We have wellness checkups once a week for children who are showing early signs of malnutrition or have recently been discharged from the inpatient program. We also provide at-risk families with supplemental food to prevent future cases and relapses of malnutrition.
We have had an extremely busy season of new intakes in both our inpatient and outpatient programs. With school being out for summer break, there are more mouths to feed at home. Summer also means scorching temperatures that create a higher risk of dehydration for children who are ill.
Melissa Toussaint was brought in by her mother at the beginning of the summer and she was very sick and malnourished. At six months old, she weighed just seven pounds. She needed a blood transfusion and was monitored around the clock. She was in intensive care for the first few weeks where her mother never left her side. Slowly Melissa’s condition began to improve. After three months of treatment she was able to return home to her family weighing a much healthier nine pounds. She will continue to receive weekly wellness check ups through our outpatient program to ensure she continues to thrive.
Genez Jean lived by a miracle. She is from the southern coast of Haiti and lives in a remote mountain village called Baie d’orange. Her parents have six children and they survive off of a small garden.
When five-year-old Genez arrived, she weighed 23 pounds and her frail body was in multiple organ failure. She was severely malnourished, anemic and fighting tuberculosis. She received multiple blood transfusions and miraculously she began to heal. She returned home weighing 29 pounds and a completely different child. She is happy and healthy, running around her home with her life completely restored.
Esperancia and Esperando Dor are twins who arrived in our care at just a few weeks old. The twins were born premature and received no medical care at the time of their birth. The babies weighed a little over two pounds each at the time they were admitted into the malnutrition center.
We believe the hot Haitian summer acted as an incubator and kept these newborns alive. Their mother has six children and their father is working in the Dominican Republic. The mother has continued to breastfeed the twins while being educated on proper nutrition for all of her children. They also receive supplemental nutrient-dense formula.
The stories of transformation that come out of the malnutrition center are nothing short of miracles. When children arrive, they are often near death. Many children require 24-hour care when they are first admitted. Treating malnutrition is a delicate process and our medical staff follow strict guidelines to provide the best quality care.
Because of the generosity of donors, the baby rescue program is ending malnutrition one child at a time. Your support is saving children like Genez and Melissa each day.