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A chance for malnourished children to survive and thrive

POSTED March 5, 2020

A chance for malnourished children to survive and thrive

How a health initiative in Ethiopia is giving mothers the skills and resources to improve their babies’ health


Hafiza (above, with her grandmother) is a healthy, thriving child, but that wasn’t always the case.

As an infant, her parents noticed she was lethargic and restless. “My husband and I were deeply sorrowed by Hafiza’s sickness,” said the baby’s mother. “When she cried, we were not sure how to help her; she was losing a lot of weight and did not have an appetite.”

The worried couple sought advice from Aminat Endris, a local health worker. And, after taking Hafiza’s measurements, Aminat diagnosed Hafiza with moderate acute malnutrition.

The infant’s parents were given the resources — highly nutritious and fortified foods, super-cereal and edible soybean oil — to feed their baby and improve her health. This was possible thanks to the Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality (CAIA-MNCM). Supported by the Government of Canada, the goal of the project is to reduce maternal, neonatal and child mortality.

And, our team is seeing the results first-hand. Two months after Aminat helped Hafiza, the baby’s playful personality came out as her appetite improved and she began to grow and develop. Since then, Aminat has been monitoring the baby’s progress. Today, the little one is thriving.

Aminat is thankful to the CAIA-MNCM project, which gave her the opportunity to improve her skills, so she can provide support to babies like Hafiza. “The orientations I received from the project help me identify infectious diseases that children as well as pregnant and lactating mothers are exposed to due to malnutrition,” explains Aminat. She added: “We have community meetings and house-to-house education for families on the preparation of nutritious food. Moreover, we have tracked the progress of each of the recipients of nutritional support. I am happy to see many who received support have shown wonderful progress.”

So far, thanks to CAIA-MNCM, 13,106 children, as well as pregnant and lactating mothers, have received nutritious food to spur their development.

Learn more about our projects at

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About Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality (CAIA-MNCM):

The Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality is a partnership among four Canadian organizations — Amref Health Africa, Children Believe, Centre for Global Child Health at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and WaterAid Canada. With support of $24.9 million from the Government of Canada (85 percent of the total project budget), this four-year project (2016 to 2020) aims to directly reach 1.7-million women, children and men across 20 districts in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania. The partners are working together with African communities to improve the delivery of essential health services to moms, pregnant women, newborns and children under the age of five; increase the use of these improved health services; and improve the consumption of nutritious foods and supplements.

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