Turning the Tide of Malnutrition
Meet Mundia – pictured above. He is just one of hundreds of babies who are alive and healthy because of milk formula donated by MWIA. Each child on this program had a mother who has since dies of AIDS or another disease or misfortune, or was unable to breastfeed due to being HIV positive or too malnourished herself.
The children who receive the milk formula are indeed the fortunate ones. They have, somehow, made it to one of the centres where milk and other nutritional supplements are distributed by a Loreto Sister and her colleagues. The story of little Mundia shows there is hope no matter how tough life can be, no matter what cards have been dealt.
Four-year-old Mundia was born in the remote district of Lukulu in Zambia. The country has been ravaged by the HIV and AIDS pandemic leaving 15% of the population HIV positive and an ever increasing number of infected babies orphaned and stigmatised. Almost 12% of children die before they reach their fifth birthday.
This is a place where families endure heartbreaking hardships. It is common to hear of mothers bleeding to death on an oxcart as the family try to transport her for several hours to the one district hospital after a problematic home delivery.
Mundia was lucky to be born in a government hospital, albeit still entering into a world of poverty. He had a loving mother, Charity Machaha and father Nyambe Skops. However, tragically one day his mother went out into the fields to harvest crops and never returned. Mundia’s aunt took over the responsibility of raising him. He was given cow’s milk but after a few months his health drastically deteriorated. He lost weight and both his hands and feet became very swollen, his hair turned grey and his lips were peeling leaving them raw and exposed.
In despair, his aunt brought Mundia to one of the four rural health clinics that Loreto Sister Patricia Hanvey manages. It is at these clinics and also at a small local hospital that Sr Patricia coordinates a Baby Milk Program which provides sustenance to orphaned, malnourished and vulnerable babies. Mundia was put straight on the program. It took four months of care before his health started to improve and today he is living a healthy life.
We know that change is taking place in this isolated region of Zambia and a tide is turning due to the hard work of our Loreto Sisters and MWIA who continue the fight against poverty and its causes, to sustainably meet the needs of our most vulnerable children.
Each year thanks to our generous supporters, MWIA is able to send $10,000 to care for up to 170 babies. This is thanks to you, our loyal supporters. Please don’t become complacent and feel the scope of ‘poverty’ is too great to tackle. It’s not, and together we can turn the tide of malnutrition.
In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children.
– Pope Francis