On the outskirts of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, sits the world's largest refugee camp. Nearly 1 million people live there. Most are Rohingya people, former residents of Rakhine State, in Myanmar. After extreme violence broke out in mid-2017, hundreds of thousands of desperate Rohingya families were forced to leave their homes and flee to Bangladesh.
Amid the sea of refugees lives Monira and her two children: 10-month old Jisma and her older brother, Kaiser. Both children are oblivious of the challenges they experienced in a not too distant past.
An urgent health problem
In the early months after arriving in Bangladesh, Monira felt helpless. Her children were losing weight and she didn’t know what to do. "I could not feed my children with enough nutritious food. So, for that reason, they often got sick."
Malnutrition is a major contributor to infant mortality in the camps where Rohingya refugees stay as 12% of children in the camp are malnourished.
Jisma and Kaiser’s road to recovery
Last year, World Vision facilitators visited Monira's shelter and informed her that a nearby nutrition center for children and mothers had just opened. The centre carried out projects to treat malnutrition and targeted more than 16,000 children and nearly 4,000 pregnant and lactating women.
Monira wasted no time and went to the nutrition center. After measuring the children’s weight and height, Jisma was diagnosed with Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM), and Kaiser required further monitoring.
After Jisma and Kaiser’s assessment, Monira received special cereal (a blend of maize, soy flour and dairy protein) from World Vision and its partner, the World Food Programme. She also began participating in health education sessions and learned about the causes of malnutrition, nutritious cooking, and how to prepare the monthly rations of cereal for her children.
From that day on, Monira cooked and served the special cereal to her kids. The improvements were almost immediate.
Today, Jisma is fully recovered from moderate acute nutrition, growing from 13.4 pounds to nearly 22 pounds over a few short months.
According to Mohammed Nurujjaman, World Vision’s project coordinator at Cox's Bazar refugee camp, Jisma is one of the 1,226 children who have been cured of moderate acute malnutrition so far. Over the past eight months, the nutrition center has served 15,972 children. Mohammad shares that, "these children will continue to get help from the nutrition center so that they don’t fall back and become malnourished again.”
World Vision's health promoters also went door to door across the refugee camps, delivering food rations and monitoring pregnant women, resulting in healthy newborn babies. After delivery, the nutrition centers continue to provide supplementary foods, so new mothers can stay well-nourished while breastfeeding their babies.
Monira smiles as she serves her children a nutrient-filled cereal.
The never-ending mission
Jisma and Kaiser are just two among thousands of children who are receiving the support they need to survive. Thank you for supporting Crisis Child Partners – together, we’re helping families access nutritious food, clean water, shelter, education, and healthcare.
It's meal time! The happy and smiling mother looks at her vigorous children, and between a spoonful of special cereal, Monira says: “My children are healthy now. I thank World Vision and that special cereal we received at the nutrition center. "