El Salvador

Combating Child Malnutrition in El Salvador

  • June 05, 2016

For 10 years, the AmeriCares Family Clinic in El Salvador has worked with donors and partners to address family nutrition concerns. A key example of this initiative, the Program for Underweight Children, has evolved into the successful Growth and Development Program, providing parents with specific ways to improve the nutritional health of their children.

By receiving products, such as children’s multivitamins from OriginUnite, AmeriCares can provide nutritional support for parents and their children in El Salvador.  Effective distribution and use of such nutritional supplements begins with a medical diagnosis of the patient, which the clinic’s pediatric unit and diagnostic services can provide.

A Healthier Future for These Children

Two brothers, Ismael, 3, and Angel, 6, have greatly benefited from the Growth and Development Program. The boys came to the AmeriCares Family Clinic for chronic conditions of malnutrition and frequent episodes of bronchitis. Their mother described how malnutrition has affected both Ismael and Angel’s intellectual and physical development. The clinic provided the boys with comprehensive treatments, including vitamin supplementations, thereby strengthening their immune systems.

Michelle, who has visited the clinic for six years, is another child who is making great progress in the program. She has anemia and malnutrition, which have prevented her from developing psychomotor skills and have caused her to have learning disabilities. With every clinic treatment and follow-up however, Michelle’s health continues to improve.

Malnutrition in El Salvador

According to UNICEF El Salvador, malnutrition remains a major public health problem, despite an overall decrease to 5.5 percent.

The 2008 National Family Health Survey shows that more than 150,000 children under age five suffer from chronic malnutrition, causing a delay in their growth, specifically in their height. In addition, 42 percent of infants between 12 and 17 months suffer from anemia, which is caused by iron deficiency. The factors contributing to poor diets are limited financial resources and lack of access to health care and nutritional supplements.

Thanks to these types of donations, the AmeriCares Family Clinic has products in stock that are accessible to patients that visit the facility from more than 180 municipalities in the country. Learn more about our work in El Salvador here.