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Helping Fatchima grow

18 December 2017, Impact of Our Work, Emergencies

During severe food shortages in Niger in West Africa, Save the Children’s malnutrition unit helped tiny Fatchima thrive again.

When we first met baby Fatchima, her condition was critical. She first started getting sick after she began drinking water from the village well.

When she arrived at our malnutrition unit, the 14-month-old weighed little more than when she was born. Her mother Maria knew that without nutritious food and clean water, her daughter’s survival was in jeopardy.

So Maria bravely used a full day of her husband’s meagre pay to hire a man with a motorcycle to drive them to the nearest Save the Children malnutrition unit.

That decision saved Fatchima’s life.

Over the next five days, Save the Children staff administered life-saving treatment: feeding her milk, checking for malaria, and testing her body weight, which was at that time dangerously low. After that first critical period, Fatchima was well enough to start the next stage of her treatment. She started to eat more solid food and show a good appetite.

Once Fatchima and her mother were allowed home, our team continued to monitor the growing child.

Today, Maria has hope for Fatchima’s future.

“I want other mothers to know that I am doing the best I can for my Fatchima. I love her very much,” said Maria.

Save the Children has operated in Niger since the country was hit by a major food crisis in 2005.

In times of food and water scarcity, it’s very young children like Fatchima (aged 7-18 months) who are the most susceptible to acute malnutrition and waterborne illness. This makes them even more vulnerable to rapid dehydration, infections and death.

With your help, Save the Children has been able to help stop needless loss of life with emergency malnutrition units in the hardest hit communities. It’s these urgent actions, along with ongoing programs designed to improve health, nutrition, and education, that helps so many children and their families in times of crisis.

Now a healthy toddler, Fatchima continues to grow and thrive. Her mother plans to send her school when she’s older so her daughter can reach her full potential.

You are helping this happen.

Banner and story image: Talitha Brauer/Save the Children

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