ONE-YEAR-OLD EKERETE GETS ANOTHER CHANCE TO SMILE
One- year- old Ekerete held by her mother at an outreach site.
One-year-old Ekerete, a lastborn child in a family six, lives with her five siblings and their mother Veronica in Kerio Turkana Central Sub County. Since birth, Ekerete had been a bubbly baby until she turned a year old when Veronica noticed that her last-born baby was not herself.
Veronica tells us that Ekerete stopped playing and was suddenly withdrawn. She attributes this to the drought and the fact that the food consumed in their household had significantly reduced. They could no longer afford to eat three meals a day.
She adds that before the drought, her babies had enough food and plenty of milk to drink but that had since changed. All her goats had subsequently died with each failed rainfall reason.
I was very helpless and worried about Ekerete’s health. The nearest health facility is about 4 hours walk from here and with the hot sun, it is quite impossible to make its says Veronica.
When Veronica, heard about Save the Children’s mass screening exercise at the emergency health outreach, she saw this as her only chance to get her last-born daughter the medical check-up she needed.
At the outreach, Dominic Ekal, a Health Officer, took Ekerete’s vitals (height, weight and Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) measurement). From the screening, Ekal noticed that Ekerete had a MUAC of 11.1 cm, height of 68.8 cm and she weighed 6.0 Kgs. Had this been an 8-month-old’s vitals then there would be no cause for alarm, but for a 17-month-old baby, this was indeed worrying.
For Ekerete who is 17 months old, this was very concerning because it meant that she was severely malnourished and her health was at risk. She needed immediate treatment, explained Ekal.
Ekal put her on Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) sachets for 28 days. “Today, her MUAC is 12.7 and she weighs 7.2 Kgs. This is significant progress in just 28 days. We have given her more RUTF and I am positive she will fully recover,” adds Ekal.
I am happy because my baby got the nutrients she needed and today she is the happy baby I once knew, says a happy Veronica.
The Integrated health services supported by Save the Children in partnership with the Ministry of Health come in handy to community members such as Ekerete who cannot access health facilities. They get to receive vital and lifesaving health services which they would ordinarily miss, because health facilities are too far away.
Using simple interventions, the routine integrated health outreaches offer general health services, which mainly include general checkup, treatment for malnutrition, immunization services for children and reproductive health education.
Save the Children Kenya and Madagascar aims to help children like Ekerete survive and thrive and have a chance to celebrate their fifth birthday happy and healthy.