"Niger Responds to Acute Malnutrition"
HKI's regional director for Africa, Shawn Baker, wrote a second guest blog for The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's blog, On the Ground.
Baker describes how in the midst of Niger's current food crisis, solutions are possible. He tells the story of Tsalha Idi, a 12 month old baby who weighed only 10 pounds (less than half what is considered normal) when he first came to an HKI-supported nutrition rehabilitation ward. After being in treatment for 16 days, he had already gained one and a half pounds. The doctor in charge of the ward, Dr. Iseybatou Seidou, explains that she and her team are able to save 92% of the children who are admitted.
Though conditions are worse this year than during the 2005 crisis, Dr. Seidou explains that many medical facilities - including hers - are now better prepared. Treatment protocols are in place, health staff trained, supplies available, and the ability to screen and treat children greatly improved.
As Baker notes, "additional assistance is needed now to scale-up treatment services. Even more important are the long-term investments to prevent malnutrition from happening in the first place."