These happy faces say it all: 3,200 Vietnamese children no longer go hungry, thanks to a Pediatric Nutrition Program supported by AmeriCares and its partners. In Vietnam, where one-third of children under age 5 suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition, this program is a shining example of hope and progress.
Sadly, there is much more work to be done to help families in developing countries around the world, where malnutrition is an all-too-common reality. Since 1985, when a deadly famine gripped Ethiopia, AmeriCares has played an active role in bringing lifesaving nourishment where it’s needed most, with:
- Immediate emergency deliveries of nutritional supplements to ease human suffering in famine-stricken Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia
- Ongoing nutritional support, programs and grants: to help children, expectant moms and families facing chronic malnutrition in El Salvador, Malawi, Vietnam, Haiti, and throughout the developing world.
Lifesaving Nourishment for Famine Victims in the Horn of Africa
As thousands of families facing starvation pour into refugee camps in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, AmeriCares is scaling up its programs to combat severe malnutrition in the famine-stricken Horn of Africa. AmeriCares has rushed deliveries of enough nutrient-rich porridge -- especially beneficial for children under 5 and expectant moms – to provide 13,000 people with a daily supplemental feeding for one month.
A therapeutic feeding center located in the newly constructed AmeriCares-supported field hospital in Kenya will ensure that the sickest, most vulnerable children and adults have access to continued nutritional interventions and lifesaving medical services. The semi-permanent facility, built and stocked by AmeriCares and operated by the International Medical Corps, is expected to be operational for at least two years.
Pediatric Nutrition Program Breaks the Cycle of Hunger in Vietnam
To combat high rates of chronic malnutrition in rural Vietnam, AmeriCares and its partners, Abbott, and the Abbott Fund, have supported a school-based pediatric nutrition program that has improved the lives of more than 3,000 children ages 12 months to 5 years.
Launched as a pilot in 2005, the program continues to expand, thanks to its remarkable success in reducing malnutrition rates and promoting growth in children facing dire nutritional challenges. Each child receives nutritious soy milk and protein-rich foods along with daily multivitamins and supplements. The program provides health and nutrition training to students, teachers and parents to help break the cycle of hunger.
Five-year-old Mi Tien—the first in her family to participate—achieved such impressive height and weight gains that her parents enrolled her younger brother in the program “The soy milk is delicious and when I drink it, I feel full and good,” said Mi Tien.
Sustainable Solution to Malnutrition in El Salvador
Since 2002, AmeriCares has worked with partners in El Salvador to develop an innovative program serving people in impoverished rural communities, where children are often born underweight and suffer prolonged malnutrition their entire lives. A fundamental first step of the Libras de Amor program -- which provides nutritional education and training and promotes prenatal care – is the distribution of nutritional supplements delivered by AmeriCares. The high-calorie nutrient-rich meal packs have been extremely effective in restoring health to severely malnourished children and adults.
Of the 2,013 children enrolled in the program, over 85% are monitored monthly with a significant percentage attaining normal weight for their age. In addition, approximately 90% of the mothers in the program have given birth to normal weight babies. A total of 1,752 families with children under five have been helped by the program this year.
In response to the 2011 flood disaster in the region, AmeriCares has sent additional nutritional support and relief items to help families participating in the program.