The remarkable recovery of a malnourished child; The story of Aisha Haruna

By Bashir A. Bashir

At 10 months, Aisha Haruna cannot sit nor crawl like a normal child. Her pale skin is wrinkled and looks 70 years old, and her hair withers and falls. She is always crying in a faint voice because she is severely malnourished and has medical complications. Aisha emaciated to the extent that one cannot tell whether she is a male or female by merely looking at her.

Aisha’s mother, Hadiza, is Fulani from Anguwan Maina in Kurba Gayi and married to Mallam Haruna. Mallam Haruna is 35years old. He is a block builder and a subsistence farmer. He farms rice, maize, guinea corn, and beans and sells some of his produce during the local market day. Upon marriage, Hadiza went to live with her husband’s family in Mansur, as tradition demanded. Mansur is a hard-to-reach Fulani village located in the Yalwa ward of Alkaleri LGA in Bauchi State. It is highly volatile; health workers are afraid to go to facilities in the Mansur settlement for security reasons.

Hadiza narrated her ordeal. Aside from poor living conditions, she had 2 children with the same condition as Aisha, and they died, leaving her with only Aisha and another child. She started giving up on Aisha based on her previous experience.

In January 2022, she came home to Kurba Gayi to get support from her mother, who had been sensitized by Community Health Influencers Promoters and Services (CHIPS) agents. Kurba Gayi is a ward in Kwaya Kusar, LGA of Southern Borno. The LGA is being supported by SFH-HeRoN. Furthermore, Kurba Gayi has been well-sensitized, and PHC Kurba Gayi is an SFH-HeRoN-supported facility. Aisha’s sensitized grandmother seeing Aisha’s condition, took her to the SFH-HeRoN OTP site, PHC Kurba Gayi. Due to her complication, she was referred to General Hospital Kwaya Kusar, Stabilization Center.

On admission, her Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) reading was 7.5cm, and she weighed 3 kg. She had leg oedema, dermatosis, pneumonia, and acute watery diarrhoea. Aisha was treated with the ReSoMal to correct dehydration and fed F-75 2hourly in line with the rehabilitation phase guidelines. After stabilization, she was placed on Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).

After a week of treatment at the stabilization centre, all of Aisha’s medical complications were resolved. She was discharged from the stabilization centre and referred to the Outpatient site in PHC Kurba Gayi for continued outpatient treatment with RUTF and monitoring. At the time of discharge, her MUAC reading was 9.7cm, and her weight was 4. 4kg. Aisha had gained 1.4kg, which was 46.7% of her body weight on admission. Hadiza was surprised about how Aisha recovered. She said, “I thank SFH-HeRoN for saving my daughter’s life by providing free care services, including food, during our stay in the Stabilization Center.”

Aisha on the day of discharge (20 days after admission) looking healthy and full of life.
Aisha on the day of admission

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