Child malnutrition in the DRC

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Context

  • Food insecurity is a serious problem in developing countries. It is a problem borne out of several factors including recurrent wars, climatic disturbances that also lead to losses in food production, unemployment and poverty.
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo has not been spared from this scourge. Since 1990 up to the present time, the DRC has faced repetitive wars.
  • In the region where we are active, there is horrendous food insecurity, especially due to the appearance of plant diseases that have attacked subsistence crops. These include manioc (cassava) mosaic, bacterial banana tree wilt and other diseases that attack vegetable crops such as tomatoes and cabbages.
  • These diseases have destabilized the local economy and, as a result, have created galloping malnutrition from one year to another. This has led to pathologies such as kwashiorkor, a protein deficiency disease, marasmus, childhood anaemia and various other nutritional deficiencies being observed.
  • According to the FAO (the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation), a child dies of hunger every 6 seconds and this means over 5 million deaths each year in Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the countries on the continent to be most seriously affected by malnutrition.
  • The latest statistics from UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) indicate that chronic malnutrition in South Kivu, currently stands at 53% of children (the highest rate in the DR Congo).
  • In the hospitals of Bukavu (the main city in South Kivu), children die from malnutrition and the lack of therapeutic milk obliges hospitals to turn away children suffering from malnutrition.

Objectives

  • The overall objective of this project is to help improve the health and nutrition of children under the age of 10 (with particular interest for those under 5) in the province of South Kivu, as well as that of their families.
  • More specifically, the project aims to prevent children who have previously been treated from relapsing, thanks to the practical aid of producing high protein biscuits, filled with leaf-protein concentrate, promote nutritional education and empower rural women gathered in agricultural cooperatives. These are local and sustainable solutions in the fight against malnutrition.

Performance indicators

  • The progressive reduction, followed by complete eradication, of the symptoms and complications of malnutrition among the children being treated. Complications such as respiratory infections (e.g : tuberculosis), gastroenteritis (diarhea and vomiting), dermatological lesions, dehydration, anemia, …
  • The adoption of adequate food methods by the families, notably the consumption of local, protein-rich products such as vegetables and legumes.
  • A fall and the absence of relapses of malnutrition among the children being cared for because of malnutrition.

 

To implement this project, KBF CANADA is working with the Action Sociale Kesho Kongo association, based in Bukavu, capital of the South Kivu province in the DRC. The association is presided over by Doctor Adolphe Nyakasane.

Since completing his medical studies at the Catholic University of Bukavu, Dr Adolphe Nyakasane has been known for his wish to bring together young scientists around development ideals for their communities.

During his studies, Dr. Nyakasane chose to focus on endocrinology, diabetology and paediatric nutrition and received specialized training in the field at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) and Pierre and Marie Curie University (Paris VI, Saint Antoine site), France. He returned to the Congo in October 2015 and transformed Kesho Kongo into a development platform called ACTION SOCIALE KESHO KONGO, with the aim of contributing to the many development challenges in South Kivu by building healthy and resilient communities.

Dr. Nyakasane’s work was rewarded by the Golden Patriot’s Prize, awarded by the New Dynamics of Civil Society in the Congo, in January 2016. In the same year, the US Embassy in the DRC recognized his work and he was awarded a scholarship by the US State Department to take part in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a flagship programme of the US Government initiated by President Obama. In June 2016, this programme led him to the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University, New York, where he was trained in public management in the fields of health and development.

From August 1 to 3, 2016, Dr. Nyakasane participated in a presidential summit for young African leaders in Washington DC, convoked by President Obama. After the summit,  Dr. Nyakasane was selected to do an internship in an American institution, which he did at the Vitalyst Health Foundation. There, he learned a great deal about public health, food security and the concept of healthy communities.

Kesho Kongo is made up of young Congolese who understood that solutions to African issues are to be found by Africans themselves, who are open to the world. These young people therefore encourage their compatriots who have had the opportunity to study abroad to return to the Congo to develop their country and its riches in the heart of Central Africa.

How you can support this project

By credit card: On the top right hand of this page, indicate the amount of money you would like to donate and make an online donation by credit card. Short and simple!

For a donation by cheque: Please make the cheque payable to the KBF CANADA  Foundation, with the mention ‘Project B 303: Child malnutrition Kivu DRC’ in the space marked ‘For’ and send it to: KBF CANADA Foundation, 1 Place Ville Marie, Suite 1670, MONTREAL, QC, H3B 2B6 – CANADA.

For a direct deposit: Please send an e-mail to the KBF CANADA Foundation at [email protected] or telephone +1 514.481.2000.

All donations will receive a receipt for tax purposes in Canada.

The projects are managed with the greatest care and professionalism.