At 24, Jenelyn gave birth to Baby Janice, her third child in four years.
Baby Janice spent her first few weeks of life in a hospital. She had health complications and weighed much lighter than other newborns.
Jenelyn learned that her baby’s condition resulted from poor diet during pregnancy. “When I was pregnant, I didn’t take vitamins. I wasn’t fond of fruits,” she said in Filipino.
“My other two children are also thin, but Baby Janice is the only one who’s always so sluggish,” Jenelyn observed. “I wonder why?”
Beating death, malnutrition
Every night, Jenelyn cries over Baby Janice. But come sunrise, she celebrates. “My baby is still alive,” she whispers, breaking into smiles and tears.
“How come my baby doesn’t gain weight?” Jenelyn often asks. One day, she finally got an answer. Baby Janice was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition.
Without proper interventions, babies like Janice could die.
In the Philippines, 1 in 5 Filipino children below 5 years old is underweight. Meanwhile, 1 in 3 is stunted or too short for their age.
Malnutrition not only delays a child’s physical growth, but also their cognitive development.
Baby Janice was diagnosed through Save the Children’s malnutrition treatment program, dubbed as CMAM (Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition).
Just a few weeks into treatment, Baby Janice started to change. Aside from achieving normal weight and a good appetite, she became more bouncy and energetic.
CMAM also trains parents on proper childcare, nutrition, and hygiene.
Today, Baby Janice is among the 130 malnourished children successfully treated by our CMAM program. The good news came just a few days before her 1st birthday.
At one point, Jenelyn already accepted that Baby Janice wouldn’t survive. “I didn’t expect that Baby Janice will grow up, that she’ll make it here today,” the young mother confessed.
“But she survived. And for that, I’m very happy and grateful.”
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