More than a Nutritionist

At 6-months-old, Joshua Omondi* is the picture of health. His bright face brings joy and contentment to his family. It is hard to believe that he was struggling with his health just earlier this year.

Joshua was admitted to Lwala Community Hospital with acute malnutrition. Upon arriving, he was quickly supported by Nancy, our nutritionist. As part of the malnutrition treatment, Nancy provided nutritional supplements for Joshua, as well as educational information on the drivers of malnutrition for his mother. Before this visit, Joshua’s mother, a young woman that had to make the difficult decision to drop out of school due to her pregnancy, never had access to resources and knowledge on adequate nutrition.

After two days of treatment, Joshua’s mother became increasingly concerned about the potential expenses of healthcare. She fled the hospital, out of fear of not being able to pay, leaving Joshua behind. In response, our clinical and nutrition teams continued to provide around the clock care for Joshua. Nancy did not leave his side until his condition improved and until she reunited him with his mother. It was then that Joshua’s mother at last understood that treatment for children under 5 years old is always free-of-charge at Lwala Community Hospital. Nancy also took time to explain her commitment to serve her community and ensure that every child, like Joshua, has the opportunity to celebrate their 5th birthday.

Lifesaving care does not end at Lwala’s doors. Nancy enrolled Joshua’s mother in Lwala’s gardening for nutrition program, which teaches both principles of nutrition and practical techniques to grow nutritious foods in a home garden. Nancy is more than a nutritionist to Joshua; she is deeply committed to empowering Joshua’s mother to provide a sustainable, healthy diet for her child that will last for years to come. Nancy will continue to visit Joshua and his mother at their home to offer follow-up care.

In addition, Joshua and his mother will receive monthly visits by a Community Health Worker who will monitor Joshua’s health and support his mother to take care of him. At each visit, the Community Health Worker will input information about Joshua’s progress into his or her mobile tablet. The tablet allows the Community Health Worker to track clients over time, manage follow-up tasks, make informed decisions about client care, and recognize clients who need additional support. The 220 tablets that empower our Community Health Workers to provide high-quality care were generously donated by Health eVillages and the Tramuto Foundation.

Joshua is one of the many children who are now enjoying healthy childhoods thanks to the lifesaving support provided by the Health eVillages/Tramuto Foundation Nutrition Initiative. Since 2017, the initiative has improved access to nutrition information and resources in Lwala’s communities. Today, children have a pathway to a comprehensive package of health services ranging from immunizations to nutrition support. Lwala’s digitally empowered Community Health Workers screen all households in the catchment area for malnutrition vulnerability, while our facilities identify malnourished children in need. Lwala also works with community members and the government to ensure these local facilities have the resources, training, and systems to provide quality care—making certain that no child slips through the cracks. Together, Tramuto Foundation, Health eVillages, and Lwala continue to reach thousands of mothers and children with community-led care, demonstrating that life-saving results emerge through our commitment to a comprehensive nutrition program and a unified vision to move the needle on health outcomes globally.

Joshua pictured getting his mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) test.
A Community Health Worker pictured recording information about her client in a mobile tablet.

*All names of beneficiaries have been changed to protect individual privacy. Photo images do not represent specific narrative in this story.

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