HONDURAS – In the South of Honduras there is extreme poverty and food insecurity. Undernourishment is the result of these circumstances, especially in children under the age of five.

The area is full of communities with poor health conditions that receive support from a preventive health program that aims to fight undernourishment and train parents in preventive health, teamwork, and making household remedies. Currently, there are 487 children in the health program, with 261 children growing normally and 226 children who are underweight. The children are weighed and measured each month.

The children are also dewormed and given vitamin supplements every six months, and those children who have low-weight problems are taken to the doctor to get the vitamins and foods that they need.

Gloribel Mejia works for Diaconia Nacional (a World Renew partner agency) as the health program coordinator. Gloribel trains community leaders and parents in teamwork and preparing home remedies such as a natural cough suppressant.

So far this year, 351 mothers have been trained in preparing and using home remedies, good hygiene, and tuberculosis prevention and care. Also, 32 fathers have attended their children’s weight control sessions and received training.

There is a little girl who lives in Agua Zarca named Fernanda Nohemí Ordoñez. She was born on September 26, 2012, and lives at home with her mother Greysi Domínguez, her father Alexis Ordoñez, and her grandmother who takes care of Fernanda when her mother goes to work at a shrimp farm and her father is working in the fields.

Greysi has taken her daughter to the weight control clinic every month since she was four weeks old. Everything was going well—Fernanda was growing normally until she was 11 months old. At that point, the baby began to lose weight and each month after she lost more weight. A normal 11-month-old girl should weigh 23 pounds, but Fernanda was only 16 pounds.

Gloribel, the community health leader met with Greysi, and together they started talking with the grandmother to see what was happening during the day that was causing Fernanda to lose weight. As they talked, the grandmother said, “Fernanda crawls around on the house’s dirt floor, and eats her meals there, surrounded by cats, dogs, and chickens that take her food. “If any food falls on the floor, Fernanda picks it up and eats it,” she said.

Gloribel and Greysi then realized why Fernanda was losing weight. They started to teach the grandmother about feeding and caring for Fernanda properly: Don’t let her eat on the floor; wash her hands before every meal; use boiled water; keep the house clean. Fernanda had a blood test and a stool analysis and was treated for anemia and intestinal parasites. The women coordinated with the health center and provided Fernanda with monthly food rations. The package included corn, rice, oil, flour, beans, and soy milk that provided Fernanda with better enough food to improve her nutritional status, bringing her back to a healthy weight.

Now, Fernanda’s life has changed. She has a new, clean, cement floor in her house where she plays and runs around. She is happy and energetic, weighing 27 pounds at her 20-month check in, a good weight for a 20-month-old girl.

Fernanda’s mother and grandmother are thankful to God for her improvement and tell everyone they meet to support the community health program because they are a great help to many poor families who don’t receive treatment for childhood diseases.

Post written by Rolando Pinzon (Constituency Bridger for World Renew Honduras)