Malnutrition in Ethiopia series: Sheleme, part two

"The people in our village told me to come here, to the MSF clinic, because my children would get food and medication. I hope my two girls will get better quickly," said Subo, the mother of Sheleme and Kutuba. She does not seem worried. She has an air of confidence and trust that is almost overwhelming.

Nevertheless, Sheleme and Kutuba are suffering from severe malnutrition - the girls are still in danger of dying. Three days after their admission, there is still no room for optimism. In light of this, the assistant nutritionists continue to give the girls the F75 milk eight times a day regularly throughout the 24 hours.

"Katuba is losing the oedemas on her feet, she's healing well", explained Julie, one of the nurses at the centre. "Since yesterday she's been able to take F100, a therapeutic milk that is thicker than what we give in the transition stage, it's the next step in the nutritional schedule."

Sheleme is still in a stable condition; her gaze is continuously cast downwards. The oedemas have not been stamped out of her but she is taking the F75 milk relatively well. Besides a few episodes of vomiting, she is reacting well to the treatment. It is impossible to imagine the little girl she was before malnutrition racked her face and body.

Along with 170 other hospitalized children at the centre, Sheleme and Kutuba can expect another night under plenty of covers and under constant medical surveillance. July nights are cold in Kuyera and children weakened by severe malnutrition must avoid hypothermia at all costs.