Malawi: World Vision implements successful child survival programme

World Vision implements successful Child Survival programme A Child survival project in southern Malawi has attributed its ability to avert mass hunger-related deaths to World Vision International's firm resolve to save lives at all costs, despite the severe food crisis in southern Africa.
"Ching'anda Child Survival Project truly benefited from the higher alert and responsiveness created by the WV Partnership's resolve and challenge and we are happy that, indeed, we have not had any such death reported yet. Rather, we have significantly reduced children's malnutrition and stunted growth rates in this area," explained Themba Phiri, Coordinator of the World Vision United States-funded project, in a remote part of the Lake Malawi resort district of Mangochi.

Mr. Phiri noted that prior to the World Vision resolve, the project learnt, from a nutrition survey in April last year, of the onset of a crisis in the area, when an 11.8 per cent rate of "acute/severe malnutrition" was recorded among the children in the area. The result had been from 300 children sampled at random and it showed a considerable rise from the general percentages of 5 and 5.8 for the nation and Mangochi District, respectively, according to the latest Malawi Health Survey Report (for the Year 2000).

The Coordinator said that in April last year, the children's stunted growth rate had risen to 58.5 per cent in the area, from a general national rate of 47.7 per cent. The project quickly bought and distributed 10 tonnes of the fortified children's feed, called Likuni Phala, to the malnourished children initially, with project staff later formulating a proposal for 81 more tonnes of the feed from the European Union's Food Security unit.

Mr. Phiri noted that long before December last year, a turn-around had been achieved, with the area's malnutrition rate down to 7.6 per cent and the stunted grown rate dipping to 40 per cent. "We are still fighting to lower the rates much more... but the significant statistic is that up to now, there hasn't been any malnutrition-related deaths, in a crisis year when many children and elders could have died," he enthused. He thanked the donors for supporting the project, thereby helping to save many lives.