Healing and hope for undernourished children in rural Haiti
One out of every 14 Haitian children won’t live to see their fifth birthday due to malnutrition and related complications, like anemia.
But Danita’s Children—a Christian organization serving in Haiti—is working to change that. Danita’s Children launched a new program that brings mobile malnutrition clinics to rural areas of Haiti.
“We’re finding the ones who can’t get to us,” said Brittany Hilker, the malnutrition program director for Danita’s Children. “These are kids who maybe would have never made it.”
One area Brittany and her team are focusing on is Baie d’Orange, a beautiful and extremely remote area in the mountains of Belle Anse, Haiti. About 14,000 people live here, and there are no health facilities or doctors.
“The people are very poor and most all of them live off the land to survive,” said Brittany. “The need is greater than I’ve seen anywhere else in Haiti, especially regarding child malnutrition.”
On one of their visits, the team saw 167 children in one day, 20 of whom were found to be severely malnourished—like baby Kenold.
At eight months old, Kenold was a mere eight pounds. He and his loving, attentive mom, 18-year-old Monique, received an emergency MAF flight back to the main Danita’s Children medical center in Ouanaminthe. Several other children were medivaced as well. Kenold was treated there for six weeks and weighed 12 pounds when he was released.
MAF flights are taking the Danita’s Children malnutrition team partway to Baie d’Orange—to the closest airstrip—two or three times a year. The airplanes also carry boxes of a peanut-based therapeutic food, Plumpy Nut or Plumpy Sup.
In October the team was able to stock a pharmacy with a year’s worth of medicines and nutritional supplements, train two partner nurses, plant moringa trees, fund the construction of latrines, and share the gospel with the community.
Brittany sent a report to the MAF Haiti team and thanked them: “Since they are a vital part of getting us there and back, I would love for the pilots and those in the office to see what they are a part of. We are not only going and flying sick kids back, we are helping the people of Baie d’Orange have their own permanent malnutrition program to combat the epidemic in their area. Thanks for all your help!”
Story appeared in the spring 2019 issue of FlightWatch.