When the Cambodian government displaced the Oudong community from Phnom Penh, Lay Sokkha’s family of five had only enough money to afford one meal per day. A donation of XANGO Meal Packs enriched their sparse diet with needed nutrients and calories. Lay, pregnant at the time, gave birth to a healthy seven-pound baby girl thanks to her improved diet.
Malnutrition, a serious health problem in Cambodia, typically begins during pregnancy and spans the lifetime of a large portion of the population. A staggering 44% of children under the age of five have stunted growth as a result of poor nutrition and another 28% of children under five are underweight. Underlying malnutrition is, in part, responsible for Cambodia’s high rates of infant and child mortality sadly, 1 in 12 children do not live to see their 5th birthday.
With reduced ability to resist infection, malnourished patients are less likely to survive common diseases such as malaria, measles, pneumonia and diarrhea. Children who are fortunate to survive prolonged malnutrition suffer from poor growth and development, leaving them physically or mentally impaired for life.
The Meal Packs contain many essential nutrients needed for a healthy diet and provide a nutritional supplement suitable for both children and adults. XANGO has partnered with AmeriCares to deliver the Meal Packs where they are most needed -- to our programs in Cambodia, Malawi, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines.
In Cambodia, the Sihanouk Center for HOPE treated over 5,000 patients with 6 to 18 weeks of Meal Pack supplementation and achieved major reversals in malnutrition. Nine out of ten children improved their body mass index (BMI) enough to no longer be classified as underweight. As a result of these findings, the program continues to expand.
“Everyday I meet the poor and they lack food. Even when they find food to eat, they need more nutrition,” said Chhavelith Vanthada, Sihanouk Community Programs Coordinator. “Measuring the before and after weights of our patients has allowed us to see the real long-term impact of XANGO.”
AmeriCares has been fighting malnutrition since the 1980s when a famine in Ethiopia killed an estimated one million people. AmeriCares has responded to food crises around the world with shipments of nutritional supplements, essential medicines and supplies, and grants for nutrition programs in countries such as El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Malawi, Niger, Somalia, Vietnam and Uzbekistan.