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Treatment for undernourished children

Maracha is a small town in northern Uganda, close to the South Sudanese border. Malnutrition is a problem in Uganda, and the area around Maracha is severely affected. The rainy season here only brings a little water with it, and the dry season is often a time of severe drought – limiting what can be grown to feed the population. Social factors including overpopulation, a lack of awareness of healthy nutrition, superstition and the prevalence of traditional beliefs add to the problem.

Malteser International has been providing its support to the nutrition unit at Maracha Hospital since 1996. Our goal is to bring a lasting improvement to the health of the children in the area by providing free treatment for children suffering from malnourishment.

The nutrition unit at Maracha hospital receives an average of 30 new admissions of malnourished children each month. The number of admissions for malnutrition peak around 40 during the months of July and August during the rainy season, when most children’s parents – and particularly their mothers – cultivate rice in the field, and stores of food in the home run low before the harvest. The treatment program represents a huge success – and almost 90% of all malnourished children admitted to the unit can be completely cured and sent home completely restored to health.

Maracha Hospital is run by the Catholic diocese of Arua, and the wages of the staff are only partly covered by contributions from the government. To support the hospital and ensure the stable presence of qualified health personnel, Malteser International pays the salaries of the staff in the nutrition unit, and provides the necessary drugs to give the children free medical treatment for their malnutrition.

Until 2008, the World Food Programme supplied the hospital with food in bulk. Since this service came to an end, Malteser International provides the hospital with funding for the purchase of enough food and fuel for the needs of the children and their accompanying adult at the nutrition unit.

When children are released from the unit, they are visited by motorcycle outreach teams who weigh the children and encourage their mothers to follow nutrition advice, as well as to involve other family members in the management of the child’s nutrition. On the occasion of these family, visits the outreach team organizes education sessions on proper child nutrition for the entire village.

  • A reduction of malnutrition, especially for children under the age of five
  • Improvement of the nutritional status of locals through counselling and awareness raising
  • Assumption of the salaries for the staff in the nutrition unit
  • Provision of training in nutritional questions for health staff and parents
  • Provision of free drugs for the nutrition unit
  • Provision of basic food and firewood for the kitchen of the nutrition unit
  • Home visits and after-care support by outreach teams

Country info

Capital: Kampala
Area: 241,040 km²
Population: c. 38.8 Million

Project data

Project duration: since 1996
Donors: ADH - Germany's Relief Coalition, Die Sternsinger, MAV (Rest-Cent-Aktion), German Malteser Aid Service - Diocese of Paderborn, Malteser Werke, private donations
Partner: Maracha Hospital

Last updated: January 2016

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