Treating and preventing malnutrition

Diagnosed with malnutrition, Gadi is on the road to recovery and his mother has committed to feeding him balanced meals.

Béatrice and her son
02 June 2022


This article was first published on the UNICEF DRC website.

In the second half of 2021, 2-year-old Gadi's health began to deteriorate. The normally happy little boy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo had lost his appetite and was visibly losing weight. “I was getting more and more worried about Gadi's health,” recalls Gadi's mother, Béatrice, who felt completely helpless as she could not afford to take her son to a health centre.

”His hair and eyelashes were becoming paler and paler,” says Béatrice. It wasn't until UNICEF-supported community outreach workers spoke to families in the neighbourhood that Béatrice realized what might be happening to her son. With the community outreach workers’ help, Béatrice and Gadi went immediately to the local health centre for a free consultation.

Béatrice and her son at a local health centre
Béatrice and her son at a local health centre

It didn’t take long to diagnose him: Gadi was suffering from severe acute malnutrition. He was cared for and given ready-to-use therapeutic food. Since he had no complications, he could be given the food at home. Over the next few weeks Gadi's health gradually improved. “Seeing him get better is like a miracle,” says Béatrice, who thought she would lose her son.

With the support of the Chinese Government, UNICEF is working to care for more than 17,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in 16 health areas in South Kivu, North Kivu and Ituri in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Treatment is complemented by awareness-raising sessions on infant and young child feeding.

Béatrice at her vegetable garden
Béatrice at her vegetable garden

It was an awareness-raising session that prompted Béatrice to set up a vegetable garden on her land. There she grows a wide range of vegetables so she can give her children healthy and varied meals. “I now try to make balanced meals to meet my children’s needs,” Béatrice explains proudly.