Paraguay

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Karina receives special attention to address chronic malnutrition

One thousand two hundred and fifty-one children and adolescents from the Paraguarí Norte program received a nutritional diagnosis during this past year, allowing a CCFC supported program to identify the cases that needed special attention. Karina, 14 years old, was one of them; her diagnosis was chronic malnutrition.

According to her mother, since Karina was 7 years old, she had some health issues, but it was very difficult to take her to the doctor because the hospital was located in a different city. When she could go, doctors didn’t have much to report. Karina's mom tried to feed her but her daughter just ate small portions. As a result she always felt too tired to play with other children or to go to school.

“The support that we received from the program means a lot to me and my family. As a mother, I felt grateful. A lot of times I went to another city to find a doctor who could explain to me what happened with my daughter, but nobody gave me any answers until the program came here. Through it, I learned that my daughter was not eating well and needed more nutritious foods. This means a lot to me, because now I see my daughter feeling better”, shared Ignacia Paredes, Karina’s mother.

Once the program got its results, staff started a follow up plan to support the recovery of local children, in coordination with the doctor. Families were visited to check on their progress, where they could see improvements in the nutritional conditions. Training sessions with parents were also a key activity, where parents could learn about healthy nutrition and make adjustments in their family's eating habits.

The common situation in the community was that families weren’t aware of the nutritional value of the food, and didn’t realize how the lack of good food can affect the health of their children. Many infections can be prevented with a nutritional diet. Mothers, for example, said that their children were thin because they ate little, but didn’t see that the real problem was the quality of the food they ate. When children had a fever or other illness, mothers gave them medicines, spending the little money they had, or went to the hospital in other cities with their children, without being aware that in most of the cases, the child's condition was a product of food with low nutritional value, which created the perfect condition for diseases.

The training sessions held in the community are generating awareness among parents about the importance of a good diet; they are also more alert to identify malnutrition symptoms. Once children receive better food, they improve their performance in school, which helps them also to improve their self-esteem and the way they relate to each other.

Karina’s story is a powerful example for her community, as its members can see the value of consuming nutritious food daily. She is also an example of why parents should seek the support of the right professionals; the experience helps the program to generate more trust and make people confident about seeking help and support. The fact that the program brings doctors to the community is also highly appreciated.

"We tangibly see the difference since the program has been supporting our community. I always talk to my neighbours and all of them say the same thing; that the program is really helping us in so many ways through the training sessions, the Nutritionist visits, and the support of program staff that come to our houses to talk with each family. The support that the program gives to our school is also very important. Things have been improving, children are more enthusiastic when they go to school, they learn more things, different from the regular, funny things, they come home happy,” highlighted Ignacia.

“I go to school, I like to go. I like to be with my classmates, I like everything I learn,” said Karina. “With the program, my life changed in so many ways. My mother always tells me about the nutritious food I should eat, she explained about the training sessions that she has had with other parents. Now I feel stronger, I feel better, my health is better. I really want to go to school, before it was not like this,” she added.

PY APR FY13 Appendix 2c Success Story HEALTH NUTRITION

What We Do

We work to protect and improve the lives of children by helping them realize their basic human rights – nutritious food, clean water, health care and education. We empower children to grow up confident, know their rights, be active in the community, and take the lead in their own change. 
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