10 May

Combatting Malnutrition in DRC: A Nutrition Success Story

Combatting Malnutrition One Maman at a Time

Community relays in Ndesha, Kasai Central are successfully combatting malnutrition in the DRC thanks to ASSP’s nutrition training. Mado Betu was a young child of two years and four months but was frail and unable to walk when the relays found her. Her family had fallen on hard times and her 24-year-old mother, also named Mado, was left to raise her and her four siblings alone.

Her mother, like many Kasaian Congolese, was unemployed and found it difficult to provide all of her children with the nutrition that they needed. Mado Betu began to suffer when she became pregnant with her new baby. At first, she thought it was a minor sickness that would soon pass. To her dismay, Mado Betu’s health only continued to deteriorate. Maman Mado was unemployed so she had no money to take her daughter to the local health center. She believed that her daughter would soon die. Her only option to watch her daughter’s slow decline.

Putting ASSP’s Nutrition Training to Work

Then one day a neighboring boy who worked at the health center came to see Mado. The boy saw that Mado was severely malnourished. He went straight to the health center to give a report on her condition. Soon after, ASSP trained community relays came to see Mado and confirmed that her condition was critical. They spoke to her mother about infant and young child feeding practices, orIYCF, and home gardening, two important methods that ASSP uses for combatting malnutrition in the DRC. But Mado needed an immediate intervention before her condition became irreparable. The community relays taught her mother a weaning food recipe developed by ASSP’s nutrition team in partnership with PRONANUT, the National Nutrition Program. The recipe is made of locally available ingredients: amaranth, fish flour, soy and corn flours, peanut meal, oil, salt, and sugar.

She began feeding Mado Betu the porridge every day and immediately saw the results she was hoping for. Community relays were happy to see the health of the child bounce back on their regular visits.

Six months after ASSP’s nutrition

intervention, Mado is a different child.

Six Months Later

Mado made a full recovery within six months of the intervention. She looked like a completely different child. She walked in circles around the visitors and had the smile of a happy, healthy little girl.

Maman Mado’s neighbor soon came to ask for her advice on how to nourish her child back to health also. She showed her how to prepare the porridge for her child. Some months later Maman Mado saw the child and she too had made a full recovery.

This is how change happens, from one Maman to another. Thanks to ASSP’s training, community relays across Congo are teaching maman’s how to nourish their children back to health and how to notice the signs of malnutrition in other children.

More than 1.6 million children screened for malnutrition

Of the 1,609,748 children screened for malnutrition in 2018, 123,584 children were referred to health centers with a MUAC reading of less than 125mm. Of those children referred, 95,929 received five home visits from a trained community relay and 78% recovered.

ASSP trained community relays saw a nearly 30 percent increase in malnutrition recovery rates in screened children in just one year.

Read more about ASSP’s Nutrition Program and how they are combatting malnutrition one maman, and one child, at a time.

Quick Facts

More than 8,900 community relay, 1,724 nurses, and 42 community animators trained.

1.35 million pregnant women and children under 5 have received direct and intensive nutrition intervention.

1,609,748 children screened for malnutrition.

274,697 malnourished children have received five home visits.

1,077,035 pregnant women have received five doses of iron and folic acid.

890 health centers equipped with anthropometric materials.