Your donations have purchased a new trailer for our Mobile Outreach Clinic! Read our latest blog as our Mobile Outreach Clinic (MOC) team shares how the new trailer will be of great help to the team’s daily operations.
Undernutrition Solution: RUTF in Malawi
An impoverished child in Malawi looks ten years old when in fact he is sixteen. His three year old sister is underweight with a low immune system. They don’t have enough to eat at home. Due to limited access, their diets lack vegetables, fruits, and meats. Therefore, they are not getting the needed diversity of vitamins and minerals. This puts them both at risk of infectious diseases.
45% of global deaths among children under 5 years old are linked to undernutrition, according to the World Health Organization. These deaths occur mostly in middle and low-income countries, like Malawi.
The words used to describe undernutrition are nearly as startling as the reality:
- Stunting: when someone is a low height for their age
- Wasting: when someone is a low weight for their height
- Underweight: when someone is a low weight for their age
Some consequences of undernutrition in Malawi are:
- Poor physical and mental health
- Increased healthcare costs for families
- Low energy
- Reduced productivity
- Slowed economic growth
In the simplest terms: children are starving. What are we doing about it?
Orant’s Mobile Outreach Clinic provides treatment services to malnourished children, teens, and adults. The treatment is deceivingly simple but wildly effective. The prescription? Peanut butter.
Technically, the prescription is called RUTF, meaning Ready to Use Therapeutic Food. RUTF is a combination of powdered milk, peanut butter, and micronutrients. Orant buys its supply from Project Peanut Butter. Project Peanut Butter sources raw materials and labor locally, which supports the Malawian economy.
RUTF saves people’s lives. The treatment is combined with routine medical check-ups. Every 2 weeks, Orant’s clinicians re-screen the patient. They measure the patient’s height, weight, and mid-arm circumference. They conduct appetite tests and assess any complications. Then, clinicians either discharge the patient or ask them to continue the program. In addition, Orant offers counseling to parents and guardians to learn the cause of undernutrition and to plan an exit strategy.
Undernutrition in Malawi is a serious problem. We started running RUTF programs in 2017. Our biggest challenge is the expense of the program. While we run the program as often as we can, we still wish we could run it more. This past week, we adjusted our budget to launch 2021’s first RUTF program. We are excited to support our next cohort of patients within the next few weeks.
The Orant Journal
In rural Malawi, pregnant women face many challenges including lack of access to prenatal care, poor nutrition, and lack of safe spaces to deliver their babies. Orant is working to change that with the renovation of our maternity ward. Read about it in this week’s blog.
On the last Wednesday of every month, our Kasese Health Centre conducts eye clinics for local residents in need of treatment. Read our latest blog to learn more about our eye clinics and how they help people in rural Malawi.
One of the greatest challenges that our Healthcare program faces is women starting antenatal care too late in their pregnancy. This puts the lives of pregnant mothers and their unborn babies at risk. Read our latest blog to learn about what our Healthcare program is doing to motivate pregnant mothers to start attending antenatal care as soon as they find out that they are pregnant.
As Orant renovates our campus in Kasese, we find a need for more consistent power supply. Working with Green Impact Technologies, we will be installing solar power onto our campus. Read more about the project here!
Lack of food is one of the factors that affects maternal health in rural Malawi. Read our latest blog to learn more about how our healthcare program is tackling this challenge and encouraging women to come to the hospital on time.
We believe that everyone deserves access to quality healthcare, and we know that making timely and professional decisions can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. Read on to hear the story of Samuel, a boy afflicted by severe malaria.
Orant’s Kasese Health Center serves thousands of people each year. Many women prefer to come to our Maternity Ward to deliver their new babies. Read on to learn about Mwayiwawo’s experience in the Kasese Health Center.
It is always heartbreaking whenever a mother sees her child sick. For Consolatta Kazinga, the situation was worse as she watched her two children on hospital beds, suffering from sickle cell anemia and waiting to receive blood.