At the age of three, little Shaimie weighed just 5.2 kg (11.4 lbs). Barely more than skin and bones, she couldn’t sit up or stand, let alone walk. Her mother Marlita longed to hear Shaimie call her “mama” but her severely malnourished condition had impaired her cognitive development and she hadn’t yet begun to talk. Shaimie, her parents, and her seven siblings live in a village in Pangyan, General Santos. Her father works as a farmer, but doesn’t earn enough to provide for his children. Marlita found it almost unbearable when her neighbors told her that she needed to prepare herself to lose Shaimie.
When ICM’s Malnourished Children Outreach (MCO) started a feeding center two hours away from their home, Marlita immediately enrolled Shaimie into the program. Five days a week for the four months of the MCO program, Marlita carried Shaime to the feeding center and back – a four-hour round trip! She was desperate to help Shaimie and knew that a nutritious meal every day would be a life-saver for her.
At the beginning of the MCO, Shaimie and the other children in the program were given a health checkup. We discovered that Shaimie had tuberculosis so we immediately put her on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended six-month treatment plan for TB. This treatment, coupled with the MCO daily feedings, dramatically improved Shaimie’s health. At the end of four months, Shaimie had gained two kilograms and weighed almost 7.3 kgs (16 lbs). She is still below normal weight, but is making progress. Her legs are stronger and she is able to sit up and stand. To her parents’ delight, she now calls them “mama” and “papa”.
ICM continues to provide nutrient-fortified food for Shaimie, even though the MCO has ended. She’ll get the extra nourishment at least until the end of her TB medication treatment to ensure her full recovery and to help her fully reach a healthy weight. Shaimie’s mother is now applying the lessons she learned during the health and livelihood lessons taught to the mothers during the MCO. Astonished by the change in her daughter’s health, she is incredibly grateful for the MCO program and the free medical assistance provided.