Malnutrition in Ethiopia series: Sheleme - Conclusion
31 July 2008
Subo is bustling about this morning. In a few minutes time Julie, the MSF nurse, will finish her rounds of the beds in the large "phase 2" tents. If all goes well today Subo will be able to bring her four little girls back home to her husband and their son. "Sheleme and Kutuba have an appetite again," said Julie. "They're drinking the milk well and eating the therapeutic paste. They don't have any medical complications and their oedemas have completely disappeared.: At 10am the decision is made: "They can be transferred to ambulatory programs". Kutuba lets a smile escape her lips while Sheleme concentrates on her sachet of Plumpy Nut; she gets up and even whispers a few words to her mother. Delighted, Subo is already gathering some clothes together and a packet of covers. She makes her way to reception; behind Subo follows the string of little girls in single file. Sheleme brings up the rear of the group with her sachet in hand. Still weakened, she climbs, with difficulty, the three steps to reception where she and her twin sister were admitted nine days ago, Sheleme and Kutuba receive two covers, a mosquito net and 56 sachets of therapeutic food. At the rate of three sachets a day for two children, this is a one week supply. After this, their mother will need to bring them to the outpatient clinic every week where they will have a medical consultation and receive more therapeutic food sachets. For the rest of the family, Subo brings back a ration of 14 kilos of CSB (a blend of corn and soya), sugar and oil. The next harvest will not be for another two months - Subo and her husband will likely struggle to feed their family until then. But when the MSF 4x4 carrying the family starts out towards the greenery of Oromiya, the team at the centre know that Sheleme and Kutuba will fight their way through it, at least for a while.