The Children’s Nutrition Centre in Kamina
▲ Children displaced by war in eastern Congo share food in a camp in the village of Sasha, where Action by Churches Together is providing a food security program. Photo by Paul Jeffrey.
By Ilunga Nelly & Nhoris Mbayo Ngoy*
Translated from French by Shimba Nulunda
The Kamina children’s nutrition center in Kamina, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was created in 1990 as the United Methodist Church leaders had noticed a lot of cases of malnutrition in their midst. In the beginning, women helped with the training of women who would take care of the malnourished children.
Furthermore, the atrocities of the armed conflicts by the militiamen called “Mai-Mai” who fought from different areas of North Katanga, displaced a lot of our District’s members of the North Katanga Conference toward Kamina. This is how the nutrition center was invaded by children and nursing women showing symptoms of malnutrition. The displaced people came from Kabalo, Northern Baluba, Kitenge, Kongolo, Nyunzu, Kalemie, Moba, Ankoro, Manono, Mulongo, Malemba and Mitwaba.
The church found the nutrition center too overloaded with the displaced people; a request for assistance from the GBGM was made in order to provide the children with a better care. With the financial assistance from the GBGM through the Women’s Division, the center currently serves 380 patients aged from 3 to 15; including 205 girls, 163 boys and 12 women aged from 15 and 26 all malnourished.
Patients are fed in groups according to their age and depending on the degree of the malnutrition. Some patients whose 32 girls, 25 boys and 2 women are at the early stage of kwashiorkor, others including 70 girls and 50 boys are already affected with kwashiorkor; whereas, 31 girls and 20 boys are at the stage of stagnation.
The center accommodates 126 children; among them, 74 girls and 52 boys who are unable to go back and forth to the center for their daily meals. They are fed three times a day and every day. Their meal consists of the soy bean powder mixed with corn flower and Moringa (a nutritional and medicinal tree whose instruction was provided by some Ghanaians experts) powder. Beans and milk are also associated to their meals while the Moringa’s dried leaves are used as tea for protection against various diseases.
Patients at the stage of marasmic kwashiorkor, on top of the diet as mentioned above, are privileged to eating meat and fish.
In case the patients contact ailing conditions other than malnutrition, they are referred to the “Shungu Memorial” medical center for appropriate care and under the support of the nutrition center.
It is unfortunate that we have lost 3 children as their health has so much deteriorated.
Children who are convalescent stay with their families; but they come to feed at the center once a day, from Monday to Thursday.
The center personnel includes 9 cooks; all women, a director also woman and a watchman.
We take this opportunity to thank the GBGM and the Women’s Division for their unforgettable financial support. May the Almighty protect them.