Feeding Malnourished Children in Gaza

ABM Gaza children

Abdullah and his family at Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. (photo: ABM)

The Australian Anglican Board of Mission is supporting treatment of children with malnourishment and anemia.

By Anglican Communion News Service
May 16, 2017


“All families are grateful for the program. Many mothers were shy when speaking to me, but their concern or happiness comes across in their facial expressions and gestures. One mother, Tahreer, said her two year old boy had improved a little after completing the program. She would like him to go for a second round of treatment so that he could continue to improve.”
— Dr, Julianne Stewart, ABM Programs Director


Since the 2014 bomb attacks, Australian Anglican Board of Mission (ABM) partner, the Al Ahli Arab Hospital (a medical facility of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem), has continued to help children restore and maintain their health. Parents and children are benefiting from this assistance in Beit Hanoun, a poor area of Gaza, near the Israeli border. People there were very hard hit in the 2014 bomb attacks.

The Child Nutrition Program seeks to build health profiles for children and help families that are struggling to cope. Over the course of three months, children are given a medical assessment by an expert pediatrician and a program of nutritional supplements is developed. The hospital provides the necessary supplements and monitors the children for signs of improvement. Dr. Julianne Stewart, ABM’s Programs Director, visited the Gaza Strip last year and met with some of the families that have been supported by the hospital.

On her journey, Julianne met with three year old Abdullah. Abdullah completed the program and is doing well according to the social workers and his mother. His mother Hyat is just 34 years old and has nine children under 18. Abdullah is the youngest. Hyat said, “Abdullah is doing well. I thank God he has improved. We give him his vitamins, enhanced milk, and food parcels from the Ahli. He is 12kg now.”

Abdullah’s father is unemployed, and struggles to feed his family. Staff members told Julianne that being underweight shouldn’t be the only criterion for entering the program.

Many children are anaemic, since the most common meal for poor women and children is bread and tea. It is clear there are complex needs on the Gaza Strip.

In three parts of Beit Hanoun, 200 at-risk families potentially have access to the Ahli Child Nutrition Program and other outreach programs via their local community-based organisations. These organisations and local social workers discuss cases and recommend at-risk children to the program via the Ahli social worker, Mohammad.

The mothers then travel by bus to the hospital to get their children assessed by the paediatrician and put on the Child Nutrition Program, if eligible (according to various indicators of malnutrition). Once on the program, mothers are counselled about nutrition, both for themselves and their families.

Julianne said, “All families are grateful for the program. Many mothers were shy when speaking to me, but their concern or happiness comes across in their facial expressions and gestures. One mother, Tahreer, said her two year old boy had improved a little after completing the program. She would like him to go for a second round of treatment so that he could continue to improve.”

“I felt privileged to meet these families, and was touched by their kindness and determination in the midst of such hardships. The importance of this Child Nutrition program, not only for the vital supplements it provides to needy children, but also in the support given to mothers in health education, cannot be under-estimated. It is indeed expressing the love of Christ to those who need it the most,” Julianne said.

Please support this project so children on the Gaza Strip can continue to receive quality care and nutrition support. Donate directly here (not U.S. tax deductible) or here via AFEDJ (U.S. tax deductible).

[Read the full article here . . . ]

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