It’s always heartbreaking when children have been exposed to drugs or alcohol. But Holt’s child nutrition program can help improve the health and nutrition of these children. And for one little girl with FASD in Mongolia, the program has had a huge impact on her life.
Altansarnai entered into care at of one of Holt’s partnering care centers in Mongolia shortly after being born. Nothing was known about her family or prenatal circumstances. She was small and very sick. Although the staff provided care for her sickness and appropriate formula for her age, they still noted that over time her development seemed to be slow and delayed. She seemed behind her peers in physical growth, was often fussy, and had difficulty calming herself down. Continue reading “More Than Nutrition: Holt’s CNP Team Helps One Girl With FASD”
Eight-year-old Danh has cerebral palsy and lives in a care center in Vietnam. He spent most days lying in his crib and would remain laying down even when he ate — a position that, unbeknownst to his caregivers, caused him to choke on his food. But now, Danh sits up in his wheelchair to eat and loves engaging with the other children.
Danh* was born in June 2007 and was abandoned when he was an infant. He is now enrolled in care in the House of Love in Cam Ranh, Khanh Hoa. He has cerebral palsy and was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, for which he received surgery to drain the excess accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from his brain. However, his brain was affected by the hydrocephalus and resulted in stiffness and some brain damage. Despite the fact that Danh received good care and attention from the nuns at his care center, some of his specialized needs were not met due to his caregivers’ lack of knowledge and skills in caring for children with cerebral palsy. While in care, the nuns focused mostly on providing him with proper diet, medical care when he gets sick, and good hygiene. As he got older, Danh spent most of his time lying in his crib and being in a room by himself. Danh could not move, sit up or walk by himself. He ate in a laying position and depended mostly on his caretakers to meet his daily needs. The caretakers mostly showed up and interacted with him shortly during feeding or bathing time or to change his diaper. The only means of entertainment for him was watching TV. He cried when the TV was turned off and felt happy when it was on.
Danh’s life changed remarkably in November 2015 when his caregivers received the ONP training to teach healthy, safe feeding for children without families organized by Holt International and the SPOON Foundation. Right after the training completed, the nuns ordered a wheelchair for Danh and some supplies needed to provide him with simple massage and physical exercise. Twice a day, Danh is given about one hour of massage and exercise using the big yoga ball. He is now fed while sitting up in his wheelchair. His caretakers share that Danh responded well and enjoyed the massage and exercise he received. He also got used to his new wheelchair after the first week. Now he can’t wait for his caretaker to come to his room every morning. He smiles happily when seeing the caretaker showing up in his room with his wheelchair because he knows that it is time to be brought outdoors with the other kids. While outdoors, he is around many other kids who stand around him, talking to him and making him laugh. Danh has been so happy and excited with these changes in his life. This is a simple change, but has made the Danh’s life significantly meaningful and full of excitement.
At 8 years old, Binh* weighed only 22 pounds. Her jaw was so tight from her cerebral palsy that she struggled to eat — causing her to become malnourished. When Holt’s nutrition program staff visited her care center, they recommended a high-protein milk formula and special exercises to relax her muscles. Just three months later, she has shown great improvement!
Binh lives in the Child Protection Center in the Ben Tre Province of Vietnam and is 8 years old. She was found abandoned as a baby and was born premature with a very low birth weight of just 3.7 pounds. She also has cerebral palsy and was severely malnourished when she first came to the center. When a professional nutritionist from Holt’s nutrition program visited Ben Tre Orphanage in October 2015, they recommended that Binh be sent to the hospital for special nutrition care and tube feeding. At the time, she was about 8 years old, weighed about 22 pounds and was 92 centimeters in height. She had a lot of difficulty eating due to CP and her jaw stiffness. She could only drink formula milk and could not eat any solid food.
In Vietnam, the hospital is limited in providing rehabilitation services for its patients. So it was not realistic for Binh to be able to receive specialized nutrition care in the hospital. For this reason, a special diet plan was recommended for her. Binh was prescribed a special milk formula that is high in protein to help her gain weight.
In the last three months, since she has received this recommended formula, Binh has shown great progress! Binh has gained more than two pounds and has grown one inch taller. Binh also now receives massage and exercise therapy every day before she is fed and is she is practicing sitting up in a wheelchair. It is reported by the medical staff in the care center that she gets sick less often and has significantly fewer respiratory issues. We all feel so glad for Binh!
As a final note, we — the care center staff in Vietnam — all feel so blessed by this training. We are now equipped with the invaluable knowledge to better care for the children with the support from nutritional specialists and Holt International. This is a big need in care centers across Vietnam, so Holt Vietnam plans to expand our knowledge and skills to serve even more children. We aim to continue to improve the quality of care for children in other orphanages and childcare centers in our country. Our strategy will include Holt’s nutrition program as a new long-term service component in Vietnam. We are glad to continue to work to make this enthusiastic plan happen.
Four years ago, Holt International and the rural community of Shinshicho, Ethiopia partnered to build the first maternal-child hospital in the region. Now in its final phase of construction, the hospital is nearly complete. Throughout the area, Holt is supporting projects to help children and families grow strong and healthy.