Mothers enrolled in the nutrition programme at Bangwe Health Centre in Blantyre start off their session with a song that teaches them about healthy eating habits and child care. WFP supports 338 health centres throughout Malawi, providing special fortified food, corn soya blend (CSB), to malnourished children under two as well as pregnant women and nursing mothers.
“Being on the programme is helping me to improve the health of my child - within just a month her weight has improved from 6kg to 7.5 kg”, says Catherine Chikopa, a divorced mother who, with no support from her former husband, has a difficult time feeding her family.
One-year old Lorine became malnourished after her mother was diagnosed with TB and stopped breastfeeding. Just a few months into the programme and already her eyes are brighter, her skin healthier and she is gaining weight.
“We try very hard to train the mothers how to feed their children so that after the programme the children will not relapse into malnutrition”, says Sister Mwamadi, nurse-in-charge at Mdeka Health Centre.
Before Bridget joined the programme, her child wasn’t growing well because she wasn’t able to produce enough milk. "Since I started coming to the health centre, I'm able to breast feed, my baby cries less and is growing healthy”.
“I came to the health centre when I noticed baby Cecilia was losing weight”, says mother-of-three, Agnes Josia. “I’ve seen how children improve when they come here”. Her husband is a charcoal seller and does not make much money, she adds. The family grows some vegetables on a small plot but not enough to feed them all.