GOAL is currently operating a countrywide ECHO funded emergency response programme in Ethiopia aimed at treating women and children suffering from acute malnutrition. Malnutrition remains one of the country’s biggest challenges, and 5.9 million children and women are expected to require life-saving treatment for acute malnutrition in 2019.
GOAL has been implementing the ‘CMAM’ programme (Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition), which supports caregivers of children suffering from acute malnutrition, since 2005. Under the programme children are treated on an out-patient basis from home, while at the same time support is provided to build health system capacity to detect and respond to acute malnutrition caseloads. GOAL is currently implementing CMAM activities in more than 30 locations across Ethiopia.
Triplets Fatra, Zalika and Samira, from a small village in Bale Zone in the centre of Ethiopia, were identified with severe acute malnutrition (SAM), a serious condition which can result in death if left untreated, during a routine immunisation exercise at their local health post. When the babies’ mother, Momina, brought her children to get vaccinated at the village health post, she had no idea how sick they were. The children were admitted immediately to an out-patient treatment programme, supported by GOAL with funding from ECHO, where they received rations of highly nutritious therapeutic food, known as ‘Plumpy Nut’.
Their mother was provided with counselling and education on best infant and young child feeding practices, health, hygiene and sanitation, and how to treat her children at home.
Momina brought the three children for weekly check-ups to the GOAL-supported health facility. Six weeks later, thanks to the strong commitment of their parents, and the support provided by GOAL and the government health workers, babies Fatra and Zalika were well enough to be discharged from the programme. They have been transferred to a follow-on programme, supported by WFP and GOAL, where they will receive supplementary food for two months to ensure their health does not deteriorate.
Meanwhile baby Samira remains on the out-patient programme, with close follow up by health worker home visits and routine checks at the health facility, until she reaches her target weight. She will then be transferred to the supplementary feeding programme to support her full recovery from acute malnutrition. Mother Momina has expressed her thanks for the support which saved the life of her triplet babies. She says ‘’Galatooma”, meaning ‘thanks’ in her local language, to GOAL Ethiopia, the health extensions workers, and the ERM mechanism.
This life-saving response was made possible by the generous support of ECHO.