Success Stories

We are so happy Halima survived: Remarkable Story of Recovery through the HERON’s Project Intervention

By Bashir A. Bashir

Halima Abdullahi is the 5th child of Hauwa Abdullahi and Mallam Abdullahi Isiyaku. Hauwa lost two under-5 children with similar complications as Halima after weaning. She is left with 3 children. Hauwa is the second wife of Abdullahi. His first wife has 4 children.

At 2 years, Halima could not walk.

Halima’s ordeal began immediately after birth. Her mother neither attended Antenatal Care (ANC) delivers at home nor practised Exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF). Halima was 40 days old when Hauwa sustained an injury on one of her breasts. To heal from the injury, Hauwa stopped breastfeeding Halima and started feeding her cow milk, pap and water. Halima’s health started deteriorating, and on seeing that, the mother reintroduced breastfeeding but it was in vain.

Halima was taken to the Outpatient Therapeutic Programme (OTP) site and was enrolled in the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programme. She was placed on Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a supplement that contains all the classes of foods given to malnourished children to avert malnutrition. She started gaining weight and later had profuse watery diarrhoea.

It was the RUTF that caused it.” said Hauwa.

This made her quit the CMAM programme and adopt native remedies, as advised by the elders. This didn’t help Halima, as she kept deteriorating.

On the 6th of June 2022, Halima Abdullahi was admitted to the Stabilisation Center in the General Hospital Kwaya Kusar. She weighed 5 kg, couldn’t walk, and was always lying down. She also had difficulty sitting for a few minutes.

Her skin looked like she was involved in a fire accident because of dermatosis that led to severe skin damage. She also had oedema (swelling caused by excess fluid accumulation in the body tissues) all over her body because of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). Other complications were ear discharge, sores in the month, cough and fever that lasted for 5 months, as explained by her father, Mallam Abdullahi Isiyaku.

Halima received treatment, recovered, and was discharged on 12th June 2022. As of the day of discharge, she weighed 6.5kg. She gained 30% of her body weight on admission, and her Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) reads 12cm. While Halima was admitted, Hauwa was educated on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) and counselled on Exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF). She was advised to pass the information to other women in her locality.

Halima on Admission
Halima on discharge date showing significant improvement in her health