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Saturday, March 17, 2018

18-month-old baby girl is the size of a 5-month-old


This week we welcomed a baby we are calling Dinah.  She is 18-months-old, weighs 7KG (15 pounds) and that is her weight after spending two full months in the hospital being treated for malnutrition. The dietician at the hospital literally brought her back from the brink of death and now it’s our turn to help her begin to grow and develop.

I have learned a LOT about malnutrition over the years, and it’s a complicated condition with long-term effects including physical stunting, direct structural development of the brain, impairment of infant motor development and often results in death, even after being on “food treatment” for weeks or months.

If you look at the chart below, you will see that her length and weight don’t come close to hitting the low end of the child growth chart.  Her length is that of an average 9-month-old, and her weight is that of an average 5-month-old child.  


Malnutrition also weakens the immune system resulting in complicated skin conditions that often leave permanent scaring (see photo below).

Malnutrition often results in anemia (low iron in the blood), and where this little one should have a Hemoglobin count of 12+, yesterday it was a mere 6.4.  In the western world she would be given a transfusion with an HB level as low as 7-8, but here we give iron daily, along with a high iron diet filled with spinach and liver if we can get it. 

If her malnutrition wasn’t enough, she also has arrived with severe pneumonia, with labored breathing and has a fever of 103F as I type this blog.  She is hungry and sick and scared and miserable.

Two weeks ago we got another little girl whom we call Cynthia. She is also malnourished and is the same age as Dinah (18-months), but in the photo below you can see the significant difference in the length of their legs and size of their feet and heads. Dinah is clearly much smaller and more underdeveloped.

We have amazing, trained staff who are caring for Dinah, Cynthia and all of our other malnourished children, and we are forever thankful for our nurses Hannah and Anthony. But it takes money, medicine, good food, a lot of tender loving care and a lot of prayer to love these children back to life. Thank you to each and every one of you who supports us on a monthly basis – you are truly ANGELS to us.

If you are not currently supporting our children, but feel moved to do so today, please click on the link below and get started. EVERY dollar helps and we need help today.

Live from Swaziland … please pray for Dinah.


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