“In our culture, when a women gets married, it is considered a great blessing if she has a baby immediately. My husband and I were very pleased when I fell pregnant with my first baby. I was 18 years old.” – Awa Berthe
Sadly, in June 2016, twenty-year-old Awa, almost lost her first and only child to chronic acute malnutrition. Nantene, who was only 18 months old kept losing weight and was constantly ill. Initially Awa thought it was just a bad cold or upper respiratory infection. Her mother encouraged her to see the local traditional healer for help, but this did not help and Nantene’s health just continued to deteriorate until Awa thought she might lose her.
At the Health Centre, the doctor examined Nantene, by weighing her and measuring her MUAC (measurement of upper arm circumference) and picked up immediately that she was suffering from acute malnutrition. Nantene was put onto a course of Plumpy Nut, which is a peanut-based paste administered for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition.
For Awa and Nantene, the arrival of the Plumpy Nut at the Cscom local Health Centre in Sikasso is the difference between life and death. Awa hopes that by the grace of God, she will have a long life and be educated. “I hope she will finish her schooling, go on to serve her community, and that she will grow into a good woman.” – Awa