Yuan is the youngest of five children. When he was born, he was very thin. “I was able to breastfeed him during his first month but he didn’t know how to suck so I had to pump the breastmilk and use a dropper to feed him,” Geralyn, his mother, shared.
All of Yuan’s siblings grew healthily except for him. When asked what the reason could be, Geralyn says, “We weren’t able to have his cleft palate checked so it really affected his feeding. At six months, we still couldn’t feed him solid food.”
In February 2018, Yuan only weighed 3.4 kilograms at four months old. He was diagnosed as severely underweight, severely stunted, and severely wasted.
“We knew he was malnourished the moment we saw him. Even just turning to his side was difficult for him. He also had incomplete vaccines because his mother thought he was too thin to get injected,” Lady Ann, a Barangay Nutrition Scholar who works in Geralyn’s community, shared.
“We tried to give him ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) but he just vomited it out. Then he even caught pneumonia. During that time, he was nourished through tube feeding of rice porridge and boiled squash and potatoes,” she added.
While Yuan was slowly treated by the community health center, Lady Ann enrolled Geralyn in Save the Children’s Parent Education Sessions (PES) through the Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) project.
Through the support of Johnson and Johnson, Save the Children’s MNCHN project builds the capacity of local health and nutrition service providers and establishes networks for quality health-care service delivery in order to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. Health promotion and education activities, such as PES, help increase community awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and interest on health services.
Geralyn completed Save the Children’s PES in May 2019. “I learned about the need for regular check-up’s and also about the proper food Yuan should be eating. I also realized that vaccination is very important to be able to fight against sickness,” she shared.
Through the support of the community health center, Yuan’s health status greatly improved. “There’s a big improvement. He couldn’t even sit up right then but now he can walk. Before he was always lying down and he would always cry. But now he is able to play by himself or with his sister and brother,” Geralyn said.
“Now that Yuan’s health status improved, an operation on his cleft palate won’t be too risky and I can finally have it fixed,” she added.
As of August 2019, Yuan’s weight has already increased to 9.6 kilograms and with the continued support of the community health center, he is on his way to a healthy future.