In outpatient centers managed by the Congolese Ministry of Health and integrated into the local health system, nurses trained and equipped by Action Against Hunger are treating and monitoring acutely malnourished children during their weekly visits.
When the crisis subsides and we can eventually depart, the local health system we have strengthened will continue to support improvements in communities’ nutritional health.
Now, because of a national nutrition protocol and specially-formulated Ready-to-Use Foods (RUFs) like Plumpy’nut, malnourished children can visit the outpatient centers once a week to get a medical check-up, be weighed and measured, and receive therapeutic RUFs to consume at home. In the past, all treatment for acute malnutrition required prolonged hospitalization.
Children whose condition has deteriorated to such an extent that they require hospitalization receive intensive care in therapeutic Stabilization Centers, which are set up in hospitals. After these children have recovered, they are admitted to the outpatient nutrition program for continued treatment until the target weight is reached. The vast majority of them return to full health within four to six weeks.
In both outpatient and inpatient centers, staff members discuss the children’s progress with their parents and teach them basic nutrition and hygiene practices to improve their health. Action Against Hunger provides technical and organizational training for the centers’ staff, equipment and therapeutic nutrition products, as well as financial support for badly underfunded hospitals and health centers to purchase medicine and other essentials. Last year, some 10,500 medical staff and community health workers received comprehensive training on care for severely malnourished children through the program.
How can someone help Action Against Hunger's program in the DRC?
People can donate to Action Against Hunger’s life-saving programs here.
For updates on our programs in D.R. Congo, they can become fans of us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@acfusa). They can spread the word among their friends and family.