This is the site of the old military airport in Port-au-Prince. After the earthquake, many people who lost everything settled here, building shelters between carcasses of old planes and helicopters. More than a year and a half later, there are still thousands of people living in what is now known as Camp L'aviation.
In the middle of the camp, FONDEFH, a Haitian NGO specializing in health services has built this clinic. WFP and UNICEF have teamed up with the NGO to help residents of the camp stay healthy. Everyday, pregnant women and mothers come here with their children to receive medical services and special fortified food to fight malnutrition.
Inside, employees prepare rations of corn soya blend for women who are pregnant or nursing. It may look like flour, but it's not. The corn soya blend is a highly nutritious blend fortified with vitamins and minerals to help babies grow up healthy (it helps mothers too!).
And then, arms and height are measured. It’s not always the children’s favorite part of the visit, but it’s essential to determine if they are undernourished and to monitor progress once treatment has started.
This is usually the moment all children have been waiting for, just like these two, who were at the clinic with their grandmother. When malnutrition is detected, kids receive what people in Haiti call mamba - peanut butter in creole. It may look and taste like peanut butter, but it’s much more than that. WFP treats moderate malnutrition with fortified peanut paste, while UNICEF handles cases of severe malnutrition with a different type of peanut paste and additional treatments.
“In Port-au-Prince, the nutritional situation is improving, but there is still plenty of work to do," says Dr. Margaret Mallet, the head of FONDEFH. "A lot of malnourished children inside and outside the camps need assistance. WFP’s programme is our biggest one here because many children suffer from moderate malnutrition. Thankfully, there are fewer cases of severe malnutrition.”
Currently, 36,000 children as well as pregnant or lactating women receive support from WFP to fight moderate malnutrition. Since the beginning of the year, another 8,000 children suffering from severe malnutrition were treated by UNICEF.
26 May 2014 Haiti: Partnering for Progress