Creating Healthier Futures for Children in India
Our teams work with families to treat and prevent malnutrition in India’s highly-affected areas.
Despite its status as an economic powerhouse, India has the largest number of malnourished children in the world— according to UNICEF, one in every three malnourished children lives in India. One of those children was Prahlad Ramesh, from Dhawati village in India’s Madya Pradesh state.
In the rural area of India where Prahlad lives, tens of thousands of parents lack the time they need and want to care properly for their children because they must work to cultivate crops. Families also lack access to clean water and proper sanitation. These factors contribute to the area’s alarmingly high malnutrition rates.
Prahlad was severely malnourished: at almost two years old, he weighed less than 10 pounds. “Prahlad lost his strength,” his mother Rehka told us. “He could not even smile or play anymore.” Rehka tried everything she could to help him, including treating him with traditional remedies, but Prahlad kept getting weaker. Then, a community health worker told Rehka about a health center supported by Action Against Hunger where she could take Prahlad to get treatment.
At the health center, Prahlad was immediately diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition and given the treatment he needed to regain his strength, including therapeutic milk, which is specially formulated to help children recover from malnutrition.
Less than a month later, Prahlad had gained weight and was on the road to recovery. By the time he left the health center to return home, he was laughing again.
Our work in India doesn’t end inside health centers. We’re working with health agencies and local partners to help prevent and treat malnutrition within communities and at home. By working with communities, we can cut down on long hospital stays that take caregivers like Rehka away from their household responsibilities, and we can reach malnourished children like Prahlad before their conditions become critical. To learn more about our work in India and to meet some more families we've reached, watch the video below:
All photos courtesy Sanjit Das.