Hanifan’s Journey Back to Life

Tuesday 17 January 2017


13-month-old Hanifan, the youngest of four children, lives in a rundown mud house in Shain Shar, a small village in the Shikarpur District of the Sindh province. Her father, Sher Muhammed, earns a meager income working as a watchman, and barely manages to make ends meet for his family of six.

 The family’s tough financial situation means that they have to live in poverty and eating three adequate meals a day is a challenge. At seven months old, she was identified to be suffering from severe malnutrition by a visiting Nutrition Volunteer, working for Save the Children, and trained under the EU-funded Women and Children/Infant Improved Nutrition in Sindh (WINS) project. He advised her parents to visit a health facility in Taluqa Headquarters (THQ), Lakhi, as soon as possible.

Following the advice, Hanifan’s parents took her to the referred Outpatient Therapeutic Program (OTP) site, where a Nutrition Supervisor diagnosed that she was suffering from chest indrawing, severe diarrhea because of poor hygienic condition, and weight loss. She was immediately taken to a stabilisation centre in the Shikarpur District where she received the nutritional and medical care necessary to bring her out of danger.

After five days, Hanifan returned to the OTP site in THQ, Lakhi, weighing only 2.7 kilograms. The WINS Nutrition Team immediately set out to treat her. They provided her Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for treating children suffering from malnutrition, and provided counselling to her mother, Bhana, on the correct way to administer medicines, good hygiene practices and appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) procedures.

As a result of regular check-ups and correct guidance by the WINS project team, Hanifan began to gain weight and eat properly. After several visits she was discharged from the OTP weighing 5.7 kgs – 15% more than her original weight. She was then enrolled into the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) which involved 7 bi-weekly follow-up visits and counselling sessions for her mother.

In August 2015, after being successfully treated for malnutrition, Hanifan was finally discharged from the SFP, weighing a very healthy 7 kgs.

 Bhana is extremely happy with the WINS project. She says:

 “I used to think that Hanifan would not be able to survive for long. Thankfully, after her treatment, she is healthy and active. She can play with other children and live a normal life.”