Zambia is one of 22 African countries with the highest number of under nutrition in children under five. More than half of children are stunted- this is one of the highest levels in Africa. Malnourished children have lower chances of survival and more likely to suffer from a serious infection and die from common childhood diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, measles and malaria.
On Thursday we met Lisen. Lisen is 7 months old but has the body of a small newborn baby. We knew he was sick but not sure why. After taking advice from a doctor we realised he was severly wasted with malnourishment and we offered to take his mum and him to hospital. His chances of mortality were high. He lay listless most of the day, often looking at his mum and I was touched by the gentle care and love that she constantly gave him. I wondered how strong I would be on my own in the same situation. She inspired me.
Lisen was admitted to ward AO7. This is a dedicated unit for infants and children who are severly malnourished. The nurses are often managing more children than they have room for.
Typically when infants arrive at ward A07, their tiny bodies are in such a state that they are simply too weak to respond to treatment. Survivors do not always return to full strength, for prolonged or frequent malnutrition can cause permanent damage to growing bodies.
I asked Catherine, Lisen’s mum if I could send a photo to England so people could pray for them. So this is the reason for the blog today.
Lisen represents one of many babies who are suffering in this way. Lets remember and pray for him and his family this week- that he responds to treatment and recovers to full strength with no lasting damage to his precious little body.
Love Hannah and gang xx