Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of death in Haiti, where 1 in 5 children is malnourished and 1 in 4 dies before reaching 5 years old. We have seen countless children come to us just a few hours too late, and lose their life because of something as simple and preventable as malnutrition. We have held children as they took their last breath, and held mothers as they mourned. This is the reality here.
This is where the beautiful little girl, Adacheka, came from. When we first saw her, she was 2 years old and only a few days from dying of malnutrition. Working through a health agent in that village, we sent money to bring Adacheka to us. When she arrived, we treated Adacheka with I.V. antibiotics for infection and put her on Medika Mamba, a therapeutic food used to treat malnutrition. She put on weight and changed before our eyes each day! She went from a lifeless, listless child to a little girl so full of personality and energy! Several months later, we sent Adacheka and her mom home, happy and healthy and full of life! Just this week we received an update on Adacheka from that same health agent in her village. Our nurses and staff were thrilled to see her picture and see her doing so well! She is happy healthy, and always giggling and laughing with no ongoing health issues!
Malnutrition is preventable. Malnutrition is curable. We just have to be willing to open our eyes to see those who are suffering. The reality is that some of these children will never make it down to our hospital, so we will go to them. We will take 5-hour motorcycle rides into the mountains to find them. We will fly across the country, and we will drive through rivers and over mountains to find them and bring them to safety. Because no innocent child should suffer and die from something that is so easily treated. We are so grateful that we have a place where children can find relief from that suffering and where desperate mothers and fathers can find hope.