Twelve months ago, during one of my visits to Mukuni Village, I was saddened to hear that a baby had died from malnutrion. The infants father, who had been suffering from TB, had passed away only a few days earlier; her older brother was one of our sponsored orphans. I immediately set up a feeding program at the Mukuni Health Centre
Mothers who are HIV positive are discouraged to breatfeed babies over six months in order to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to infant. This is virtually impossible when you are so poor that you cannot find the money to pay for formula; lack of nutrition can result in a child being prone to illness and subsequently malnutrition.
Within six months The Butterfly Tree’s feeding program has greatly improvedthe situation. Now there are no babies suffering from malnutrtion and more mothers are coming forward to be tested for HIV, knowing that they can participate in the program should the test be positive. For the young babies formula is provided, for the older ones, a fortified porridge made up of lactogen, ground nuts or kapenta, a dried fish and a good source of protein and mulitivitamins are given for ones that are under weight.
For the past four months, thanks to a grant from Avert, made directly to The Butterfly Tree in Zambia, we have been able to continue this very worthwhile program and hope that one day we can introduce this to other clinics in the district.
In 2009 Karen Lytle, a donor from Arizona, generously took over the funding of this vital project.