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Carluccio’s & Action Against Hunger

Supporting a project in Mali to change the lives of severely malnourished children

Carluccio’s are proud to be a long-standing supporter of Action Against Hunger. We have now raised an incredible £1,900,000 for the charity’s work, through donating 50p from every Penne Giardiniera sold in our restaurants. Some of the funds raised by Carluccio’s are currently funding an Action Against Hunger nutrition programme in Mali, West Africa, which is treating children who are severely malnourished so that they can thrive and live healthy lives.
In Mali, acute malnutrition rates for children aged under five years of age are high, varying between the critical threshold (10%) and the emergency threshold (15%). Erratic rains combined with on-going conflict in the north of the country have led to poor harvests, diminishing the food stocks of thousands of families.
77.5% of the population live in rural areas and 57% are over 5km from a health centre which means that very often, severely malnourished children aren’t receiving the treatment they need. Health services face enormous challenges such as lack of resources and trained staff, particularly in order to respond to the number of case of malnourished children during the “lean season” when food becomes even more scarce. With support from Carluccio’s, Action Against Hunger is working in Kita and Keyes, two districts of Mali, to enable the health services to better respond to these seasonal increases in the number of children suffering from malnutrition when the potential for saving lives is at its peak.

Many parents of children suffering from malnutrition have very low incomes and can’t afford the transportation costs to take their child to hospital or the costs of medical treatment. The programme is supporting parents by covering these costs.

The programme is building on Action Against Hunger’s other programmes in Mali which aim to increase the number of children diagnosed and treated for severe malnutrition through treating them in the community. Community Health Workers play a vital role in monitoring, diagnosing and treating children for malnutrition in their homes. With more complicated cases, they refer them to a community health centre. Action Against Hunger has been working in Mali since 2007 to support this community-based approach which has the advantage of being able to treat a greater number of malnourished children without the need for parents making long trips to hospital, spending time away from their livelihoods.

Children are diagnosed for malnutrition by Community Health Workers using a MUAC (Middle Upper Arm Circumference) tape, to take a simple measurement of a child’s upper arm circumference to determine whether the child is suffering from malnutrition. Treatment is dependent on the severity of the case, however most children with Severe Acute Malnutrition can be provided with a course of ready-touse food to be administered at home, whilst receiving follow-on support from Community Health Workers. Severely malnourished children who have medical complications are referred to hospital in-patient facilities for more intensive treatment.
Since April 2018, the programme supported by Carluccio’s has enabled 80,346 children under 5 years of age (80% of the total number of children under five in the project area) to be screened by Community Health Workers. Of these, 529 children have been diagnosed as suffering from severe acute malnutrition with complications and have been treated in hospital. These children and their mothers or caregivers have received support with transportation and medical costs.

In order to ensure children do not become malnourished once cured, and to prevent other children becoming malnourished, the programme is enabling Community Health Workers to conduct workshops for parents and carers covering topics including nutrition, hygiene and care practices. Mothers are also receiving training on the use of diagnostic tools such as MUAC tapes so that they can screen their children for malnutrition and get appropriate treatment before their children’s condition worsens.
The programme is also strengthening the health structures through:

  • training and support for community health workers on the identification and referral of malnourished children
  •  improved capacity for inpatient care centres through recruitment of new staff
  • training for the health district management team on how to manage the increased number of cases during the peak season

Fily’s story

Fily Keita is 8-months old and lives with her family in the village of Kelenalo, Kita. She was screened for acute malnutrition by a Community Health Worker in September 2018 and referred to the community health centre where she was diagnosed with Severe Acute Malnutrition and malaria. Fily and was immediately admitted to hospital for treatment. Fortunately, she responded well and two weeks later she was able to return home where she is now receiving follow up treatment at her local health centre.

Her mother Fatoumata explains: “My daughter had a fever for a week. She refused to eat and was losing weight quickly. The Community Health Worker referred us to the community health centre. When we arrived there, the nurse told me that my child was seriously ill and that we had to go to the hospital in Kita. I was worried as I had no money for transport and I thought that my daughter was going to die. I received support with the transport costs to get to the hospital and when I arrived there the health workers took good care of my daughter. I also got help to cover the cost of her treatment and my meals while I stayed with her. During my stay, I was trained on how to measure children’s arms with a measuring band and to recognise malnutrition. With this band I can measure the arms of other children in my village and explain how to use this to my friends. I am very happy that my daughter’s health is improving day by day and she is regaining all her vitality!”

 

Photocredit: Action Against Hunger

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