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Question
Posted by: Lahlah | 2009-04-02

Malnutrition

hi Doc. I am currently in a situation where I feel I need to help this one particular child in my area who I think she suffers from malnutrition.
She is 2 yrs 4 moths, she looks like she is 1. Her stomach is bloated, and her hair does not look normal. Nothing fits her cos she is so small.
What type of food can I buy for her. She is from a very poor family where nobody works. I just found out from the net that Cod liver oil is good. I was also thinking of buying her meal meal so her mom can cook pap for her, and maybe she can eat it with milk like Nestle, or cow milk. Please advise.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Lahlah
It is indeed most distressing to see children suffering from malnutrition. Firstly I think you should ask her family if they will agree to take her to your nearest clinic because it is important to have some starting point and to find out if she is not suffering from any additional problems that require medical attention. If the family agree, then you can offer to help to get the child to the clinic where they will do an assessment of her weight and height and general health. If she is malnourished then you can ask at the clinic if they distribute any foods designed for malnourished children (e.g. special milk formulas). If not, then you can tactfully offer to help the family with basic foodstuffs. Don't give her cod liver oil until she has been seen by the clinic sister because giving a highly malnourished child such a rich supplement may make her vomit which is not what she needs right now. Cod liver oil should also be given in small doses - discuss the dosage with the clinic sister. The basic foods that can make the difference between starvation and good health are: maize meal, milk powder (esp if the family don't have a fridge), soya protein (Toppers), dried beans or lentils, sunflower oil or margarine, canned pilchards, sugar and peanut butter.
Holding thumbs that the little lassie will improve with your kind help
DietDoc

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