KIHEFO promotes local initiated solutions to fight disease, ignorance and poverty in southwestern Uganda
On Feb. 5, 2013, KIHEFO organized a 1-day dental and health outreach in the rural community of Nangara, Kabale. KIHEFO has been working in Nangara for over five years; however, on this day, with the assistance of Canadian dentists and health professionals, were able to offer health services to hundreds of people. Due to the large number of people who arrived to seek health services, KIHEFO was able to identify many cases of malnutrition, and other health complications.
One of the most extreme cases of protein malnutrition in Nangara, identified by KIHEFO, was that of a three year old boy, Owamani Bright, who had pronounced symptoms, including distended belly, swelling, sores around his mouth and on the limbs, and ‘silky hair’ (lightening of the hair).
After a health screening with Owamani and his mother, Bezeranta Sanyu, KIHEFO visited their home to further assess root causes of the child’s severe condition.
Through the home visit, KIHEFO learned that Owamani’s parents were unaware he was suffering from malnutrition. On a daily basis, Owamani consumes a basic diet of plantains, Irish potatoes, and cabbage – the main food crops grown in the village, which are lacking in protein nutrients. The child’s parents were lacking knowledge and capacity to provide and prepare a more well-balanced diet for Owamani.
The family’s small mud-wall home, with dirt floors and a roof that leaked, was lacking in sanitation and hygiene. Owamani slept on a mat made from papyrus, without a mosquito net – which in his malnourished condition, poses a severe risk to suffering from malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
Through the visit, KIHEFO referred Owamani, and his mother Bezeranta, to come to the Nutrition & Rehabilitation Centre in Kabale, and stay for an extended period to receive ongoing medical care and attention to improve the boy’s condition. Additionally, KIHEFO will teach the mother how to prepare a well-balanced diet for her son, using foods that are available locally.
While KIHEFO has capacity to support Owamani and his mother, there are hundreds of other cases of child malnutrition in Nangara, and other rural villages of Kabale, that have been identified through KIHEFO’s ongoing nutritional screening and outreach clinics at the community level.
Today, KIHEFO is able to provide services at the Nutrition & Rehabilitation Centre through small donations made by a few volunteers who have been compelled by the situation to support extreme cases of malnourished children.
The challenge remains that there is not enough funding to address the hundreds of cases that KIHEFO has identified – children whom are in need of immediate attention and support. However; solutions are not out of reach.
You can help KIHEFO take action on child malnutrition. Click here to find out how you can be a part of the solution today.