Thursday, July 12, 2007
Nutrition Program Costs
Well, the good news is that I did my first day of rounds on the new ward and it was so lovely. Instead of 20 patients crammed into a 10 bed ward the size of most people’s living rooms . . . They were dispersed over a 25 bed ward, each with their own bed, mattress, shelf, plenty of air, light, windows . . . Of course the fact that this motherless child has lost 2 kg since graduating at age 1 from the nutrition program and is back in desperate shape, this baby’s Kwashiorkor is related to AIDS and a severe case of malaria to boot, this mother’s family is telling me there is no one to help her, etc. does not change. The world is still a broken place, but now at least those who are suffering the most severe effects have a clean place to lay their heads. We even turned on the generator power to run an oxygen concentrator for a child who arrived gasping her last breaths . . . Blue and weak, she probably has a congenital heart defect, but the oxygen staved off death this hour at least. We could not have done that on the old ward. I’m grateful.
The sad news is that the nutrition program is completely out of funding. We lost WFP food last year, and we were denied our UNICEF grant proposal this month. Stephanie rushed to get in another grant, but in the meantime Karen got milk on credit this week and we are struggling to feed about five seriously malnourished inpatient children as well as three premature babies. I know that churches and Sunday school groups, student fellowships, etc. often look for a worthy cause. So I had the idea that if we got 12 groups to cover particular months (one takes August, another takes February) then we could manage another year while we try to work on the more sustainable aspects of the program (seeds, milking goats, an agriculture extension worker) that we’ve applied for grants to fund.
$1600 a month covers:
Boxed Milk - $400 (Kwashiorkor and severe malnutrition)
Formula - $400 (prematures and initial care for motherless)
Breastfeeding Stipends - $400 (motherless)
Peanut Butter Paste and Misc - $400 (mostly for HIV+kids)
It’s a lot of money, but this budget helps about 50 kids/month at the cost of 1$/kid/day.
If anyone who reads this has a group that wants to commit to a month, let me know!