FEATURED STORY

Nutrition Support for a Mother and Baby in Nepal

James Cooper, Program Officer, International Medical Corps, Nepal

Kalpana Pariyar lives in a small village in Dhading District, Nepal with her husband and two young children. Every day Kalpana takes care of her family, works the fields and looks after the cattle. Despite her hard work to provide the best care for her children she, like many other women in rural Nepal, still lack access to health information on proper child nutrition and breastfeeding.

Kumari Pariyar with her mother Kalpana Pariyar

During a routine screening, a female health volunteer realized that Kalpana’s five-month-old daughter Kumari showed signs of malnutrition. Kalpana was told that she and her baby needed to see a health professional.

Kalpana brought her baby into the Dhading Stabilization Center run by International Medical Corps and a local partner for severe acute malnutrition. This condition was complicated by a cleft lip and palate that caused difficulty when breastfeeding. At the time of admission, Kumari’s weight was only eight pounds. For five days Kalpana watched anxiously over her baby’s recovery at the stabilization center. On the first day of admission Kumari was given 40 ml of nutrition formula every two hours. Kumari took well to the controlled nutrition regiment and improved quickly. Upon completion of the program she was moved to 60 ml and then 80 ml every three hours. On the happy day of her discharge, four days after her admission, she had gained one full pound.

Kumari Pariyar receiving nutritional treatment

While Kumari was soaking up nutrition, her mother was provided with training to improve the home care of her child. Kalpana was given basic training on the importance of hygiene, types of family planning and proper techniques for breastfeeding. She was further advised to bring Kumari in for surgery to treat the cleft lip and palate after her daughter turned a year old. We had a chance to speak with Kalpana after her daughter had recovered:

“This program really helped me and my child,” she said, holding Kumari up, “The care provided by the program made a real difference for her and taught me a lot about proper care. I would never have known my child was suffering from malnutrition if this program had not come to our community. I’d like to thank you and your team for helping us. We can’t afford expensive treatments and hospital charges. This program helped us in every way, so thank you all very much.”

Kumari Pariyar being assessed by a doctor in the stabilization center

International Medical Corps is on the ground in Nepal helping the Pariyar family, their community, and others like them, in the transition from relief to self-reliance. To that end, we are implementing Nutrition programming in seven Nepali District Hospitals. International Medical Corps partners with local NGOs to ensure a lasting and sustainable impact, and in Nutrition we work with Nepal Pediatric Society as our implementing partner. Together, we are running stabilization centers similar to the one visited by Kalpana and Kumari at each of the seven District Hospitals to provide adequate nutritional and medical treatment for children under 5 suffering from severe acute malnutrition with medical complications. Each hospital we work with services earthquake affected communities.

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