Support for Benin's children from an early age

Malnutrition of infants in Benin

Emilienne from Aplahoué in Benin recounts: "Our children used to have severe health problems. The health centre was so far away that we could only go there rarely. They suffered, were weak and could not go to school. Since 2009, there is a health care facility in the Epicentre of Kissamey, that we can get to on foot. The children now have regular check ups, are sick less, are able to go to school on a regular basis and are growing normally."

At the Epicentre of Kissamey, about 24.000 people from 12 villages pool their capacities to jointly promote the development of their region. This communal concept provides better access to resources for the individual and allows the people to better assert their interests with the local government. The central community building (Epicentre) that was built and is administered jointly by the population, is a visible manifestation of the communal initiatives. It is within walking distance, i.e. no further than 10 to 12 kilometres from even the most far-flung settlement. It has a class room, a health centre, a kindergarten, a granary and a small bank offering microloans.

Background

Benin is in West Africa by the Gulf of Guinea. Its landscape is dominated by lakes, beaches and savannahs. In the north east, the Atakora Mountains provide ideal conditions for agriculture. In spite of impressive natural resources, Benin is among the poorest countries in the world. The literacy rate is extremely low and the about 10 million inhabitants have very limited access to public health care. The majority of the working population engages in small-scale agriculture. According to the 2015 Global Hunger Index, the nutritional situation of the population is "serious". 45 % of all children age five are affected by "stunting", that is restricted growth as a result of malnutrition in early childhood.

Regular health checks and weight monitoring at the Epicentres of the Hunger Project help to combat infant mortality in Benin's rural areas and to avoid irreversible physical and mental abnormalities resulting from undernourishment or malnutrition. Undernourished babies and toddlers suffer from a weakened immune system and are more at risk from preventable diseases.

The good deed

Babies and toddlers receive check ups in the health centres of the Epicentres at regular intervals, taking height and weight measurements and assessing their general health. The nurses at the health centres document these tests and the development of the children. In the course of this, sick or malnourished children are identified, treated and monitored.

Challenges

At the Epicentre in Kissamey, Mondays are the time for vaccinations and check ups. This is when the influx of patients is particularly high and long waiting times are common. And if on top of that a birth has to be administered to, staff resources already stretched can become critically tight. Additional nursing staff would alleviate the the situation.

Necessity
Activity
Countable output

After around 7 months

Result

After around 3 years

Systemic effect

After around 7 years

Preventive medical care for babies and toddlers in Benin to combat undernourishment and malnutrition.
Babies and infants get regular check ups, measuring and recording their size and weight. Mal- and undernourished children are treated.
Number of children that are examined at the community centre.
The number of mal- and undernourished children has gone down. The physical condition of these children has improved. They are sick less often.
Better physical condition and educational opportunities for these children. Prospect of a self-reliant life free from chronic hunger.

 

Association
The Hunger Project e.V.
Association register
VR 550968 Ulm
Certified by
DZI Seal-of-Approval
Transparency International
Commitment to quality standards of VENRO

 
 
 
 
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