Amazing Mother: AklimaAklima is a young mother in Bangladesh whose son was struggling with severe malnutrition. After learning nutrition and hygiene practices from World Vision, this Amazing Mother changed the way she feeds her children. Aklima has now become a model for other young mothers in her community.
Aklima Khatun’s son Ashik was often sick with diarrhea, fever and other stomach problems as an infant. When World Vision Bangladesh visited Aklima’s village and met Ashik, they saw the baby was severely malnourished. “He was pale, his eyes had no focus, and his mother Aklima had no more hope,” a World Vision staffer recalls from that visit. After taking his height, weight and mid-upper arm circumference, Ashik was referred to the community based nutrition program.
More than 36% of children in Bangladesh suffer from moderate to severe malnutrition. In Bangladesh 54 out of every 1,000 children die before their fifth birthday. Malnutrition is blamed to be the underlying cause of about one-third of these deaths. In response, World Vision has developed a community based nutrition program which is helping children to recover from malnutrition and ensuring healthy hygiene practices for families.
After learning about better feeding practices, Aklima changed the way she feeds her son. Ashik gradually gained weight and his progress was monitored. Now, at 3 years old, Aklima says he is continuing to gain weight and is doing very well.
Ashik is among many other young children across Bangladesh whose nutritional status is improving. “World Vision is helping us to recover from malnutrition and ensure healthy hygiene practices for the other members of the family,” says Ashik’s mother, Aklima. This program also teaches the importance of hand washing before eating meals and after defecating, breastfeeding up to six months, and giving vaccinations.
With World Vision and other donor support, the program now reaches 1,117 malnourished children. Through implementing the program, this area of Bangladesh has successfully reduced the rate of underweight from 41 percent to 31 percent of children. “This is significant progress in the community with soaring rates of malnutrition,” says Rehana Akhter, a World Vision Health Program Officer. “It is a sign that the community is making progress on reducing vulnerability among poor families, and enabling well-nourished children of today to help drive future economic growth and productivity as adults. There are big changes in the communities because almost all mothers are practicing better infant and young child feeding and care.”
Now Aklima is inspiring others for better infant and child feeding practices in her village. Her husband helps her to ensure that she has the right range of foods to feed their son. With the training she receives from World Vision and the monthly growth check-ups, Ashik’s mother is able to watch her son progress towards a healthy future.
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