Malnutrition in Ethiopia series: Sheleme, part four

A serene calm reigns here. We are in one of the "phase two" tents of the stabilization centre in Kuyera. The rustling of plastic Plumpy Nut bags is an indication that the children here have regained their appetite. Most of them are capable of feeding themselves the high-energy paste, a sort of peanut butter that most children find very tasty.

Sheleme and Kutuba arrived this morning. It meant transferring the little family, including their mother Subo, the twins, their little sister and the baby who is constantly suckling his mother's breast. Here in phase two, the children continue taking their therapeutic milk but they also manage eating three sachets of Plumpy Nut a day.

Sheleme still has an anxious look on her face but little by little she is taking an interest in her surroundings, looking left and right, as though she is slowly regaining consciousness. Under her eyes there are still traces of the oedemas that left her entire face swollen a few days ago.

If all goes well, Sheleme and Kutuba may be able to leave the stabilization centre tomorrow and be transferred to the ambulatory feeding programme. Confident, Subo, their mother, eagerly awaits the green light from the medical team: "We're ready to go home," she says. "As soon as they authorize it, we'll leave."