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Tackling the Food Crisis, One Family at a Time

  • November 23, 2009

Natural disasters, climate change and economic problems have sparked a food crisis throughout the developing world. Every six seconds, a child dies due to malnutrition and related health issues. That’s why AmeriCares supports programs to improve nutrition and medical care for mothers and babies in Malawi, El Salvador, Haiti, Cambodia, Guatemala and many other places around the world.

Help AmeriCares provide medicines and humanitarian relief to people in desperate need around the world »

Malnutrition contributes to more than half of the deaths of children under five. Many of those who survive suffer poor growth and development, leaving them physically or mentally impaired for life.

A young boy from rural El Salvador, Diego Anibal, is one of the lucky ones. Diego survived severe malnutrition with help from “Pounds of Love” – or “Libras de Amor” to locals – an AmeriCares-supported program providing medical care, nutritional education, access to healthy food and other critical assistance. 

Diego was born prematurely, weighing just over 4 pounds. By 11 months old, he couldn’t crawl, sit by himself or play games with other children his age. His mother worried about his growth and brought him to the Pounds of Love serving their village and other nearby communities.

Doctors determined that Diego was severely malnourished and was suffering serious developmental delays. He was quickly put on the program and his health began to improve right away.

Last year, AmeriCares doubled its financial support for Pounds of Love: These investment results are better than anything on Wall Street!

  • 100% of pregnant women had prenatal care healthy pregnancies;
  • Only 4 newborns were born prematurely or with low birth weight; all are now a healthy weight;
  • 94% of families with malnourished children have improved their feeding practices;
  • In 6 months, 5,000 health care and nutritional consultations were given;
  • 98% of children under 5 were given medical checkups, vaccinations and nutritional supplements;
  • At-risk children had regular house calls from the program’s physicians;
  • More than 2,000 mothers are taking nutrition and child development classes.

Diego received regular medical check ups and the nutrition he needed.  His mother participated in cooking classes, learning how to prepare high protein and nutrient rich meals using fortified rice and other grains supplied through the program. She also learned techniques to stimulate Diego’s motor skills to minimize any developmental delay.

Today, Diego is a healthy 2-year-old with adequate weight gain every month. He walks, runs and loves to play ball with the other kids. Diego’s mother was so happy – and relieved – about her son, that she began working with Pounds of Love to help other families like hers.

Since 2002 AmeriCares has been working with our partner, Salvadoran Foundation for Health and Human Development, (FUSAL), which runs the innovative Pounds of Love. AmeriCares donates medicines, medical supplies and financial support, allowing FUSAL’s doctors to give medications to people in need, free of charge.

AmeriCares is committed to fighting malnutrition world wide. Read about our work in MalawiGuatemala, and India.

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