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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Reducing Malnutrition in Honduras

Throughout Honduras, rural communities are deprived of food, water, and other basic needs. Families are vulnerable to malnutrition and a variety of illnesses.

In 2013, HOPE International Development Agency started working to improve the living conditions and health of people in Comayagua County, one of the most isolated and neglected communities in Honduras. A large majority of rural Hondurans lack the basic knowledge and know-how to protect and nourish their health.

A World Bank study shows that 10% of newborn babies in Honduras are underweight due to malnutrition, 50% of children between 2 and 6 months of age suffer from anemia, and 29% of Honduran children 5 years and younger have a slow growth rate.

HOPE International Development Agency began to working with families in Comayagua County to help lower these percentages and increase the overall health of their communities.

At the beginning of 2013, the program’s area of operation had a malnutrition index of 10%, but by the end of the year the overall malnutrition index was reduced to just 7% in the 248 communities where the program has been implemented.

Nelson, a young child from one of the communities of Comayagua County, exemplifies how a small amount of support can build up and empower families with knowledge and capacity that enables them to live healthy lives.

Nelson’s mother shares their story...

“My fifth son Nelson was born weighing 6lbs, 12oz. He was a beautiful baby.

Twelve days after his birth, I took Nelson to his first weight monitoring appointment with the HOPE program in my community.

I learned that my son had lost 1lb, 4oz. in just a few days. I told the health volunteer that I was not producing enough milk. The health volunteer taught me how to make soy milk and to add ferrous sulfate. I gave this to my son for a couple of months and he began to improve little by little.

But then I stopped the treatment. I didn’t know it was so serious that he wasn’t gaining more weight. When Nelson was 4 months old, he became constantly sick with diarrhea. I was told that he was extremely dehydrated and he was given an electrolyte solution from the medical volunteer team that HOPE brought to my community. I started treating Nelson with this solution and he became much better in a week’s time.

Today, Nelson is 13 months old and is at an adequate weight for his age. I am so happy to see him healthy and gaining weight!”

The story of Nelson and his mother shows how the poorest of the poor have the ability to care for themselves if they have the knowledge and support needed.

HOPE International Development Agency’s mandate is to build up people like Nelson and his mother and help them learn how to lead healthy lives.