In 2017, MCC Haiti began piloting acute child malnutrition programming with Konbit Peyizan as part of its holistic agroforestry programming in Central Haiti. This unique model of community-based malnutrition treatment has seen success, with 98% of acutely malnourished children able to recover in their communities without needing hospitalization. Without this program, many would end up hospitalized. Young children who are not treated have a 20 percent chance of death. For those who survive, life-long consequences can include poor brain development and intellectual disabilities, heart damage, metabolic disorders, autoimmune diseases and physical stunting.
Adline Rosema and Angela Silvéus, mothers to previously malnourished children, share their stories of recovery and healing.
MCC photo/Christy Kauffman
My name is Adline, I live locally in Kaywit, Haiti. I am 19 years old. It would be a pleasure for me to share my life story with you. I had my first child when I was 17. I got pregnant because my family didn’t have the means to support me, and I didn’t have the chance to go to school. I was very miserable when I was pregnant with my child, I didn’t have the means to get medical care during my pregnancy or go to the hospital often. Since I didn’t have the money for medication or much medical care in the pregnancy, it made the delivery very difficult. When the doctor saw that I would not be able to have a normal delivery, he did a C-section so they could deliver the baby. When I left the hospital, the baby got sick right away because I couldn’t find good care for my baby or myself. The child’s father couldn’t help me because he had nothing, he didn’t have a job.
The thing that makes me saddest in this story is that my child never stopped being sick. I looked everywhere; I couldn’t find a remedy. When my child was 6 months old, I got a boyfriend because I thought he could help me take care of my baby. I believed that this was the best decision I could make at the time because I didn’t have any help at all. But it wasn’t true, my child didn’t recover, and this man asked me to have another child for him. I felt really sick when he said that to me. I didn’t want to, but at the same time, I didn’t have a choice because he was my only rescue. One of the reasons that he wanted me to have a child for him was because he thought my first child would die.
I was still fighting every day to see if I could keep my child alive even as my child had diarrhea every day without stop. When he was fourteen months old, I got pregnant again and the problems only increased. When the child was seventeen months old, I met with nurses who were visiting our area. The nurses wanted to examine children in the area who were sick. This is how they realized that my son was very ill. They started to talk to me, they gave me a lot of good advice, a lot of medications. When I started giving him the medications, he became worse at first, but I continued to give them to him. I applied all their suggestions and advice and in a few days, I saw him start to improve. Now my child is twenty-four months, and I just had another baby.
When I started giving him the medications, he became worse at first, but I continued to give them to him. I applied all their suggestions and advice and in a few days, I saw him start to improve. Now my child is 24 months, and I just had another baby."
I am very happy with the way the nurses worked with me. If Konbit Peyizan didn’t send them to do this work, my child would have died. I am very happy and have hope that my second baby will be healthier than my first. When I had my first baby, I didn’t have any education or know anything about how to take care of children, but now I know a lot. Thank you so much Konbit Peyizan, I pray that God will continue to bless you.
MCC photo/Christy Kauffman
My name is Angela Silvéus. I live in an area called Kaywit, and I am twenty-three years old. I have 3 children and gave birth twice. I had my first child at eighteen years old, and when I was twenty-two years old I had twins. Unfortunately, life was not good for me, and it was a difficult time for me with my children because their father left us just 9 days after the second birth. Even now, I have never seen or heard from him since.
Every time I thought about the situation of my life, I felt like I could not go on, because now I was both mother and father to my children. What makes me saddest is that my mother-in-law was supposed to help me with the children. Instead, she kicked me out with all 3 children. I tried to figure out what to do, but I did not know where to go with my children. I had to return to my own mother’s home, but she was not well at all. Because I did not have money to care for my children, the twins became weak and emaciated because they were not receiving enough food.
After a month of sickness, one of the twins died. The other twin who lived was not healthy at all. His legs and body had started to swell, and he would cry frequently. I came to a moment where I did not know what I would do. I did not have enough money to go to the hospital. I had to ask several people for help in order to eventually go to the hospital, but unfortunately, when I went to the hospital, my child’s situation did not change. I came to a moment where I no longer had hope for my child. I thought what happened to the twin who died would also happen to him. I truly saw how terrible this situation was.
At this moment, I received an invitation to come with my child to the malnutrition program that was beginning in my area and would help us improve the health of our children. After a consultation with the nurse who worked in this program, she told me that my child was malnourished. After that, the nurse gave me advice on how to give him food for his health to become normal. They gave me medication to give my child and they visited me every week to see how his health was improving. After two months in the program, when I think about how he was before, I can see there is an enormous change in his health. His body and legs are returning to normal.
After two months in the program, when I think about how he was before, I can see there is an enormous change in his health. His body and legs are returning to normal."
- Angela Silvéus
Read more about the work MCC is doing in Haiti.
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