Last week when Fetiana started the Medika Mamba program, she had extensive edema; her face, arms, legs, and feet were swollen with fluids, a common aspect of acute malnutrition. In her first week of treatment, her weight dropped from 19 lbs to 15 lbs 10 oz, an 18% decrease due to loss of water alone. This loss of water weight is normal, as the body starts to regain normal functions, and now she can begin her climb to a normal weight for her height, which should enable her to fight off the little colds that continuously plague her. For a three year old, she appears unnaturally still and fragile, but her eyes glance around with an encouraging curiosity. Sheila expresses excitement about the coming weeks because Fetiana now has an appetite. Her mother used to have to force her to eat, and now, Fetiana is demanding her daily Mamba!
Fetiana Wants Her Mamba!
Fetiana Aimable has the face of a precious three year old, but her arms and legs are dry and wrinkled from loss of water. Sitting on her mother’s lap, she coughs quietly but never whines. She lives with her parents and two older siblings, aged 8 and 9. Her parents are both unemployed and thus struggle to support their family, small as it is. Fetiana’s mother, Sheila, admits that they rely on the kindness of their neighbors for donations of money so that their kids can eat. She is shamed by this statement, but her voice remains fiercely steady because she has done what she must to help her children. She heard about the program through other mothers in her area that had seen their children ‘come back to life’ with Medika Mamba.