Hiking for health

Today we embarked on a fairly arduous trek up and around a few hills to reach a small lush countryside village. I straggled in with the first few providers and we were greeted by throngs of people patiently waiting to tell their story and receive medication or guidance.

I set-up in a corner and, with my trusty translator, we started making our way through the sick and not-so-sick kids. Most complained of “stomach pain” or “low appetite” or “too much spitting”. Scattered in between the walking well, there were two patients that needed immediate attention. One was a limp boy that seemed to be 6-8 months old sleeping in his father’s lap. When I woke him up, he was unable to sit or even hold his head up straight. The other appeared to be about 2-3 years-old and was carried by his mother. He seemed very tired and when I removed his shirt I could see why……he was emaciated and most bones in his body were protruding through his skin.

As I grabbed the chart for each of the two children, I had the same reaction; “Holy Toledo!”

The first child was 18 months-old and the second had already had his sixth birthday. Both had significant stunting in their growth and development.

We quickly got both kids linked with the local malnutrition program.

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