South Sudan: Emergency nutrition rejuvenates malnourished child

Two-year-old Lual is among 18,000 malnourished children benefiting from World Vision’s emergency nutrition program in South Sudan.

By Chris Huber and Abraham Nhial
Published December 9, 2013 at 11:00am PST

Lual Akol, a 2-year-old South Sudanese boy, was cranky when a health worker called his name. A World Vision staff member weighed him, then measured the circumference of his mid-upper arm — confirming his severely malnourished condition.

The long walk in his mother’s arms under the scorching sun to the feeding center was over. Lual received his weekly supply of Plumpy’Nut*, a nutrient-rich peanut-based paste, and devoured the first packet. Just like prescription medicine, the child is expected to take three packets a day — one in the morning, one at noon, and one in the late afternoon.

Lual is among 18,000 malnourished children benefiting from World Vision’s emergency nutrition program in South Sudan’s Warrap State, where recent floods destroyed crops.

“Last month, Lual started having a constant diarrhea, fever, and vomiting,” says his mother, Awich Ayiei Lim. “He refused to eat because he had lost his appetite. When his condition got worse, I decided to bring him to this clinic for treatment.”

Signs of hope

The toddler is making progress despite his family’s daily toil to find enough to eat. Other children are noticeably improving, too, thanks to volunteers who visit surrounding communities to assess children’s health needs. Community members have begun referring friends whose children need help. 

“Our program is now enjoying ripple effect, as the mothers, caregivers, and local communities are helping us to identify and refer malnourished children from outlying villages,” says Dorothy Matyatya, World Vision’s nutrition project officer in Warrap state. “We are very grateful to God for giving us the resources to be able to save the lives of malnourished children.”

Slow progress

Awich and her husband are subsistence farmers, who lost their sorghum and groundnut crops in the recent floods. They’ve resorted to selling firewood, earning about $2 per day.

Warrap state has the highest prevalence of malnutrition among children in South Sudan. Nearly 28 percent of children here are considered acutely malnourished, according to a recent survey conducted by World Vision and its partners.

“The progress is slow, but he is getting better every day. As you can see, he is eating the Plumpy’Nut very well. If he continues eating this food, he will get well very soon,” Awich says.

She says she can’t find words to adequately express her gratitude to World Vision for saving her son and longs to see help given to other hungry children.

“I am so grateful to those who support this program, and I want to exalt them because the program is saving the lives of our children,” Awich says. “I am also appealing for support to vulnerable families like ours that do not have food.”

*Plumpy’Nut® is a registered trademark of Nutriset. It is one of multiple ready-to-use therapeutic foods distributed by World Vision.


Ways to help

Praise God for the generous donations that have made this aid available to help Akol and other children like him. Continue to pray for Akol and for World Vision's work in helping these precious children. Pray that even more resources will become available to provide more aid.

Make a one-time donation to help more children like Akol. You can provide life-saving food, improved livestock, agricultural support, clean water, medicines, and other essential care to hungry children and families around the world.

Give monthly to help provide care for hungry children. Your monthly contribution will support our efforts to fight global hunger and malnutrition over the long term.