Child Health

Angel's Story

Light A Candle Foundation continues with the Child Health Promotion program. This program monitors the growth of infants and young children according to the World Health Organization growth standards curriculum, provides counseling to parents, and provides assistance as needed to malnourished children.

Recently we visited a batey and discovered a 2 month old baby with severe malnutrition. Little Angel’s appearance filled us with much sadness, as he only weighed 7 pounds.

Immediately our doctors responded to this situation, first by interviewing the person who brought the child to our growth monitoring clinic. We realized that the person who brought the child was not the mother, but the aunt who currently cares for the child. The mother suffers from incapacitating problems and the father is not interested in caring for the child.

The aunt cares about the baby but has very limited resources and was not able to buy formula for him. Angel had only been fed mashed fruit since birth. This resulted in failure to grow and deterioration of his health.

When we found him, he was extremely underweight and small for his age, listless, weak, and unable to maintain eye contact. Given this presentation, Light A Candle Foundation made a decision to refer the child to a local pediatrician for evaluation and treatment recommendations. The pediatrician immediately recommended hospitalization due to the severity of his malnutrition.

For three days, Angel received intravenous hydration and antibiotics. He also received a blood transfusion due to severe anemia. He began to take formula often. He began to show much improvement and gained a sparkle in his eyes. At the time of discharge from the hospital, Angel had greatly improved and was a happy, contented baby.

We took him back to the batey where he lives, along with a supply of formula, medication prescribed by the pediatrician and other provisions. Angel’s future was uncertain when we arrived at his batey two weeks ago, but today Angel has hope to live. Light A Candle Foundation is committed to providing follow up for Angel over the next 5 years so that he may grow up healthy and strong.

We do not rest in our work, but we need resources to continue helping other children who, like Angel, may have little hope in their lives. PLEASE HELP US SAVE LIVES.

This program utilizes the World Health Organization Growth Standards curriculum.

Children ages newborn to 5 years are weighed and measured at periodic intervals over time.

Measurements are plotted on growth charts to identify children with growth problems.

Parents of children identified with growth problems receive counseling in healthy practices of nutrition, hygiene and parenting.

The children receive multivitamins, parasite medication and other interventions as needed.

All data collected is stored in a large database so that growth trends can be monitored over time.

CHILD NUTRITION STATION

This module will teach 40 children per day (ages 7-10) about the importance of eating
fruits and vegetables – especially those that are yellow, orange, red and green.
Problem addressed: Lack of diversity in the diet is a widespread problem in the bateys,
as in much of the world. Children especially need a diverse diet including fruits and
vegetables to provide necessary nutrition for growth and brain development.
Main message: When possible, every day try to eat a fruit or vegetable that is yellow,
orange, red or green. These provide your body with the ability to grow and stay healthy.
Preparation: some preparation of activity supplies; packing of fruit; brief review of Station materials.

Staffing: 2 LAC STAFF, 2 VOLUNTEERS
Activities: (* = volunteer activity with Dominican partner)
Gather groups of 5 children. Session lasts ~20-30 minutes.
Using visual aids, present educational content. Volunteers can help display learning materials while
Dominican staff explains.*
Review educational content, asking the children to name fruits or vegetables that are yellow, orange, red and green.
Provide the children with crayon bundle and one coloring sheet at a time on a plastic tray.*
Sit with them as they color.*
When coloring is completed, help each child wash their hands and distribute to each child a bag of fruit.*
Assist them in placing crayons and coloring sheets in yellow plastic bag, along with fruit as they prepare to depart the station.*