Beshala was only 18 months when her concerned father, Jemal, made the long journey to St Luke’s Hospital, Wolisso, Ethiopia to seek treatment for his daughter who was suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). In his owns words Jemal tells us how the combination of the Therapeutic Feeding Unit and the training provided for parents has given his daughter the best chance for a full recovery.
“My name is Jemal and this is my little daughter Beshala. She has been a patient here for a month. She has been receiving treatment and is on the road to recovery. Her body was very swollen but now the swelling has almost completely disappeared.
I had heard about the hospital on the radio and when Beshala became very ill I brought her here. It is four hours away by car. It has been very difficult for me to get here since it’s very far and I have to get a lift, but thank God for if we hadn’t brought her here, I don’t know what the fate of my child would have been.
I am a farmer and have 3 other children. Beshala is the last child. I have 2 older daughters, Zenaba (5) and Alima (3). Even though I spend most of my time out in the fields, my earnings can barely sustain the whole family. If I buy clothes for my children, then they will be wearing those clothes for the next two years. At the hospital the daily routine is to feed and clean my daughter, then I go to the training provided by the hospital. This is education about feeding the right food to the children and how to upkeep hygiene so their immune systems are stronger.
What concerns me most is the health of my family. I think the hospital is great and I am thankful to the doctors for the continuous attention and treatment of my daughter. If we hadn’t come here I doubt she would have survived.
Advent is not the only way you can choose to support these vulnerable families this Christmas. By choosing to purchase Ethical Gifts for your loved ones this year you can help provide nourishment, medical treatment and clean, safe water. This is a gift that gives long after Advent is over. Good nutrition is fundamental to help a child grow and progress.
To the right you can see Burke and her young son Abush. 8 month old Abush was a patient at St Luke’s Therapeutic Feeding Programme. The hospital treats children suffering from malnutrition but always provides free educational training for parents. This includes learning about the right foods to provide nutrition and how to upkeep hygiene to boost immune systems, but also it provides valuable cooking lessons for parents to fully prepare them for when they return home.