Malnourishment in Gaza
Ashraf is a young boy suffering from chronic malnutrition which affects a third of Gaza’s children, according to UNICEF. In April, he and his mother, residents of Beach Camp (also known as Al-Shati), visited the KinderUSA funded program implemented by our partner Ard El Insan (AEI) which is designed to address chronic malnutrition among children in Gaza. Ashraf is one of 2,400 children, newborns to age 5, who have been screened as part of the project, and one of 421 children admitted to the AEI clinic for nutritional and medical treatment.
Al-Shati, located along the Mediterranean coastline in Gaza, is the third largest refugee camp in the Palestinian territories and one of the poorest. After repeated conflicts and a blockade approaching its 10th year, the diet of Palestinians in Gaza lacks the variety and nutritional components needed.
Once children are diagnosed, they are treated with high nutrient biscuits and plumpy nut which is fortified with vitamins and micronutrients to reduce malnutrition. Mothers participate in health, nutrition, and cooking classes to change eating habits, making choices with what’s available within their budgets. Follow up visits are then conducted at the homes of these families.
Ashraf enjoyed the high nutrient biscuits and plumpy’nut, a peanut paste developed for severe and chronically malnourished children, since they are both nutritious and tasty. His mother participated in health education sessions to modify eating habits within the household.
“Ashraf was a model patient. He quickly improved from the treatment and his mother changed his eating habits and food choices,” said Dr. Adan Executive Director of AEI.
Ashraf’s mother has, “learned about managing the money we have for foods, healthy and cheap food options, and ways of cooking that keep the most nutritional value. We are happy with the significant recovery rate that my son has achieved and thank you for helping to protect my child’s health.”
“Chronic malnutrition affects every aspect of a child’s life, from growth to education. Without an end to the blockade the number of children affected will only increase,” said Dr. Laila Al-Marayati Chairperson KinderUSA.
This is a 2 year program that has just begun. We need your help to reach more families and children who can benefit from the work of our partner, Ard el Insan, a leader in promoting the health of Palestinian children. Please consider making a donation today!