Madhu and Sandeep.

A mother learning to take MUAC measurement.

Khandela Kedi is a small village in Baran, Rajasthan where Madhu lives with her two children, her husband and mother in law. When Sandeep, her elder son was born, Madhu dedicated her entire time in caring for him. She made sure her was exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age and thereafter introduced to other simple foods. Sandeep was a chirpy, happy toddler. When Sandeep turned 18 months old, Madhu’s family fell on hard times. The family income was not sufficient to sustain them and to make matters worse; Madhu’s husband had become an alcohol addict.

To support her family, Madhu had to take up manual labour for an extra source of income. It often involved long, tiring days under the sun and returning home at dusk. Sandeep was left under the care of his grandmother. Madhu often missed her time with Sandeep but continued to toil for their sustenance. In some weeks, Madhu noticed that Sandeep was no longer the chirpy toddler he used to be, he had stopped playing and was getting weak and cranky.

One day when Madhu was out for work, a community mobilizer form Action Against Hunger measured Sandeep’s Middle Upper Arm Circumference during a screening drive. He was found to be severely malnourished. We advised his grandmother to take him to the nearest Malnutrition Treatment Centre (MTC) and begin treatment immediately. On discovering this, Madhu took him to the MTC the next day. At the centre, Sandeep was provided necessary medicines and fed nutritious food 5 to 6 times a day. Madhu received counselling on aiding Sandeep’s recovery though good nutrition and sanitation at home. His father too realized the toll his alcoholism was indirectly taking on Sandeep’s health and quit drinking. During her 15-day stay at the MTC, she learned taking the MUAC measurement on her own and was provided a MUAC tape by Action Against Hunger staff on discharge, to keep a track of Sandeep’s progress.

Sandeep’s MUAC reading had improved from 113 to 115 and he was gradually recovering. When Madhu heard of a fellow villager’s child getting weaker, she quickly put her MUAC tape to use and realized that the kid was in the yellow zone (moderately malnourished). She got in touch with Action Against Hunger and ensured the child’s mother received adequate support from the MTC.

Madhu is now a part of a 5 women group in her village who are well versed at MUAC measurement and regularly spread awareness on the importance of good nutrition and sanitation among other women in the village. She is slowing eradicating malnutrition from her village and empowering mothers like her.


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