27 Jul 2018 Why “Health For All” Is Essential
Nantenaina is four years old, and weighed less than 25 pounds when he first arrived to the PIVOT-supported health center in Ranomafana. Jean Adolphe, Nantenaina’s father, was seeking care for his son’s edemas – areas that were sore from fluid retention and causing open wounds all over his body.
After Nantenaina was assessed, our clinical staff quickly diagnosed him with severe malnutrition and referred him to the District Hospital. There, he was admitted to the CRENI center, where PIVOT treats children with the most serious cases of malnutrition at no cost to the patient or family.
On his last day of treatment, Nantenaina received a rationed supply of Plumpy’nut (fortified peanut butter used to feed and help nourish children with malnutrition), Vitamin A supplements to help strengthen his immune system, and a large bag of rice, beans, oil and salt to share with the rest of his family. Jean Adolphe carried the complementary bag of goods back to Ampasipotsy with Nantenaina by his side – now healthy enough to make the walk on his own.
While the solutions to treating malnutrition are often simple, they are not always easy. In fact, accessing any sort of health care can be a huge challenge for families in rural Madagascar. The sacrifices made by Nantenaina’s family in order to ensure his return to health were not insignificant; Jean Adolphe gave up many days of work and wages to accompany his son to care. With 5 other children at home, his wife’s ability to work was also compromised while her husband was away.
Scenarios like this are common in Madagascar, and can be the reason families struggle to break free from cycles of poverty and disease. If it weren’t for the absence of financial barriers, it may have been impossible for Nantenaina to access the treatment he needed.
On Nantenaina’s final day of treatment, John Adolphe expressed his well wishes for all of the other malnourished children in PIVOT’s care, and his gratitude for his son’s return to health. It is for families like theirs that we are committed to providing universal health coverage in Ifanadiana District and, ultimately, throughout Madagascar.