Every 1-7 August, the world commemorates World Breastfeeding Week. The theme for this year’s week is “empower parents, enable breastfeeding”. Breastfeeding is a vital part of providing every child with the healthiest start to life.
On a drizzling morning in Phalombe district, Malawi, mothers and their children gather at a village clinic for growth monitoring appointments for the children. The clinic is located on a mountain and is surrounded by grassy plains and a forest. Tawina Mawindo is here with her 4-year-old son, Boniface Masiye.
For Manesi Fanuwelo, 33, the thought of losing another child to malnutrition was unbearable. In 2007, Fanuwelo, from Nkhwazi village in Chikwawa, Malawi, lost a son to the condition. The young boy was about to reach his third birthday when he died. And now, her 10-month-old daughter, Laima, was showing the same symptoms that killed her brother.
Beata Bignos was shaken when she saw her child’s feet, stomach, and cheeks were swelling. He had kwashiorkor, a severe form of acute malnutrition. After being treated at Gabriel’s Hospital in Namitete in rural Lilongwe, her son, Yosefe, is now healthy and bouncy again, as should every 2-year-old.
n many rural Malawian households, adequate nutritious meals are not readily available. Over the past few years, drought and flooding have also affected food production, reducing the already small and undiversified food portions of the poor.