A young child having her arm circumference measured
Essentials - February 2021

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It’s hard to believe that just over a month ago Ankis was assessed as having acute moderate malnutrition. She is one of 16,300 Rohingya children under five who are receiving life-saving supplementary food through World Vision’s malnutrition prevention and treatment programme.  

Child malnutrition is the single biggest contributor to deaths in children under five, making them more susceptible to disease and slow to recover from common illnesses. 

To address this, this year World Vision opened malnutrition prevention and treatment centres in five refugee camps in Bangladesh to reach at-risk children.  

Ankis’s mother, Sowkat, 30, first came to World Vision’s centre when she was pregnant. “I have been receiving services from World Vision’s nutrition centre for the last 11 months,” says Sowkat, who has five children, including Ankis. “During my pregnancy, I attended counselling sessions here. Staff members advised me to eat nutritious foods, such as colourful vegetables, fish, meat and fruit. They also demonstrated how to prepare the food.” 

At the World Vision centres, which are operated in partnership with the World Food Programme and UNICEF, children are weighed, measured and their nutritional status assessed. 

To help prevent malnutrition, World Vision supplies all children under five in the camps with monthly rations of Super Cereal. This blend of corn, soy beans, milk powder, sugar, and soy bean oil is packed with vitamins and complements breastfeeding.  

Children, like Ankis, who are underweight for their height, and who are assessed as suffering from moderate acute malnutrition, receive the Super Cereal, as well as PlumpySup—a ready-to-use, high-energy food supplement. It comes in packets, is easy for a child to eat and can be stored without refrigeration. World Vision monitors the malnourished children taking PlumpySup every 14 days until they reach their normal weight-for-height. 

“Ankis receives 28 small packets of PlumpySup every month. We give her one-pack each day. She really likes it,” laughs Sowkat. “In just one month, I already see an improvement. She looks healthier. I am happy to see my daughter looking happy.” 

“In just one month, I already see an improvement. She looks healthier. I am happy to see my daughter looking happy.”

Sowkat, Ankis’ mother

Rohingya refugee in a Bangladesh refugee camp

“Ankis receives 28 small packets of PlumpySup every month. We give her one-pack each day. She really likes it,”laughs Sowkat. “In just one month, I already see an improvement. She looks healthier. I am happy to see my daughter looking happy.”

World Vision staff members teach mothers how to properly prepare the Super Cereal and to use the PlumpySup. Mothers who are pregnant or breastfeeding also receive a ration of food to boost their nutrition. Sowkat is hopeful about her daughter’s future. “We were given shelter here in Bangladesh. If agencies like World Vision had not come forward to save our children’s lives, we would have been crying in the wilderness, watching their suffering,” she says.“The support we have received is an endless blessing for us and our children.”

Ankis is steadily recovering, growing stronger each day. But now Sowkat has a new concern: coronavirus. The risk of infection is high in this sprawling makeshift megacity of 860,000 people. Social distancing here is difficult given the camps’ population density of 40,000 people per square km.

Although there is concern, your support means mothers like Sowkat have learned how to protect themselves and their children from COVID-19. “Staff at the centre told us how to protect ourselves from the danger of COVID-19,” she says. “We learned about washing our hands with soap frequently for 20 seconds every time, and that we should also maintain social distancing.”

Your support is helping now more than ever. Thank you.

How World Vision is responding to coronavirus in the countries where we work.

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