"Because of GOAL, my baby is still alive"
Mary fled from South Sudan when her home came under attack by militants. She sought shelter in one of GOAL’s refugee camps in Gambella, Ethiopia.
It was a challenging journey with no food or water. HIV positive, she became so sick that a relative had to carry her for eight hours to the Ethiopian border where she was rushed to hospital. Under the watchful eye of medical staff, Mary’s health improved and she was released from hospital six months later.
Baby Kuthekur’s arrival
When Mary became pregnant with Kuthekur, she was provided with antiretroviral drugs which meant that her son Kuthekur was born free of the virus in Gambella. But because Mary’s health was so poor when she arrived in Ethiopia, Kuthekur was born very small, underweight and was identified as ‘high-risk’ by GOAL staff. At one month old he weighed only 2.6kg, almost half of what he should have.
Kuthekur was extremely ill and transferred to hospital for urgent treatment.
Mary feared the worst for Kuthekur. Four of Kuthekur’s older siblings had tragically passed away before their first birthday due to illness and malnutrition in South Sudan.
After months of care and treatment Kuthekur’s condition was improving. But due to her poor health, Mary was unable to produce breast milk. GOAL staff offered Mary and Kuthekur non-breastfeeding support to help with nutrition. And they were admitted to GOAL’s innovative ‘Management of At-Risk Mothers and Infants’ (MAMI) program.
Thankfully, GOAL teams able to reach Kuthekur in time. His condition stabilised and he was able to return to our camp in Gambella where he was closely monitored and cared for.
Kuthekur is now growing quicker and meeting all his developmental milestones.
Today he’s alert, healthy and happy.
“My baby was very small, weak and malnourished when I came GOAL. I had no breast milk in my breast, it was just water. This was at a critical time, when I had to support my baby. GOAL treated me and now my baby looks like this today, healthy. I had children before and they died, but because of GOAL, Kuthekur is still alive,” Mary says.
You just need to look at young Kuthekur’s healthy, smiling face, to see that our nutrition program for infants is working.
It’s allowing us to easily screen and protect infants under 6 months of age from malnutrition. And it’s saving lives this Christmas.
No child should have to suffer from hunger, from malnourishment and disease. Especially when we can prevent it.