At the Clinic
Typical day at the Malnutrition Clinic
- Welcome, time in the Word, prayer and the Gospel is shared.
- Give instructions for moms. Medika Mamba is for 6 months- 6 years old. If the child is under 6 months, we insist on the moms breastfeeding. We have many babies whose mothers have died at birth and we have several children that have been abandoned that we supply with formula.
- Weighing and measuring of each child.
- If the child falls in the parameters (Weight, Height and age) of the Meds for Foods program they answer a short questionnaire, sign a contract committing to the rules of the program. They are triaged by Meredith or our paramedic. They look for severity of malnutrition. Sometimes we refer to inpatient clinics if the child is really sick or can’t hold down food. We also treat them for any other medical condition.
- We educate them on the importance of using clean water and weekly give them Clorox to treat their drinking water. The first week in the program, each child receives a dose of Amoxicillin. Usually, every malnourished child has some underlying reason as to why they are malnourished. This helps them start with a clean slate. Their number of sachets of Medika Mamba are determined by a weight chart. Each week there’s training on water, nutritious foods, and basic hygiene. The second week in the program each child is treated for worms.
- If the child misses two weeks, they are removed from the program. Part of the contract that they sign is a commitment to come every week to clinic. If the child is not gaining weight and there is no apparent reason why they aren’t, they’re dismissed from the program. Because of the amount of calories we’re giving them in each sachet there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be gaining weight so we question them as to how they’re using the Medika Mamba. If there is no apparent reason as to why the child is not gaining weight we have to assume the mom is misusing the sachets or selling them which is a breach of our contract and they are dismissed from the program.
- Once a child reaches their goal weight, we continue to have them come for about a month making sure the children are maintaining their weight. During that time, we invite them to a cooking class where we teach about healthy items they can eat that are native to Haiti and they can buy at the market. Most Haitians eat a lot of beans and rice because it’s cheap and many suffer from a protein deficiency. When we have our cooking class, we teach them how to make chicken and rice without bouillon. Most Haitians eat salt to curb their hunger and many are walking around with alarming high blood pressures. We cook a grain called ble with epinard, which is like spinach, with zucchini and spices. We fix an avocado salad and fruit salad. The moms come and help us prepare the food and then we all enjoy great fellowship sharing a meal together. It builds community. Lives begin to mesh together.