Child Nutrition Project
In rural areas of El Salvador, 25% of children younger than 5 years old suffer from chronic malnutrition. This is a problem that carries significant and often irreversible consequences, and contributes to lifelong illnesses and mortality rates. Children that suffer from malnutrition in their first five years of life have limited growth, diminished mental capacity, memory loss, poor muscle development, decreased height and weight, and an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases. In young adults, malnutrition causes diminished muscle growth, decreased height and weight, decreases in mental capacity, and a major risk of contracting chronic medical diseases in their adult years.
Pastoral de la Salud is attempting to address this problem by ensuring that at risk populations are educated in nutrition, thus improving their diets. The targeted populations for this project are children under five years of age, pregnant women, and infants in rural areas of La Libertad, as the risks of malnutrition are greatest within these groups. To improve nutrition in this population, this project will provide education to the beneficiary families on food and nutrition in order to implement healthy practices, monitor the height and weight of children younger than five years old, and implement 10 family gardens.
Malnutrition is a huge problem in impoverished populations, and in areas of El Salvador where rates of diseases like Dengue fever are high, it is directly connected to mortality rates. This project hopes to address this both directly, through the implementation of 10 family gardens and education that will spread through these communities and have long-term effects. The heights and weights of young children will also be monitored so that these problems can be caught and hopefully addressed early by rural clinics. The results we hope to see are a baseline of nutritional education at community level, families with both greater access to nutritious foods and better habits surrounding nutrition and feeding their children, and in the long-term better growth and development in children younger than five years of age.
Anything you can do helps – a $15 donation can educate and feed a community health worker who will in turn return to their community and help families learn how to better enable their children to develop and grow to their full potential.
-Pastoral de la Salud and Globemed at Amherst College