Caring for Malnourished Children in Vietnam

September 14, 2017 • Vietnam
Our maternal and child health program is reaching children in poor Vietnamese villages.
Nguyen Trang Quynh is the Samaritan’s Purse health project coordinator in Vietnam.

The heavy rain showers from the previous night made it hard for us to travel on the mountainous roads. The car could only bring us to the foot of the mountain and then we had to walk because that was the only way to reach Po Si Ngai village.

The path to Po Si Ngai village is a long, steep, and muddy slope with deep furrows that are very difficult to walk. We each wore a raincoat and carried a heavy backpack. We tried to ignore the beads of sweat falling from our cheeks and our wet shoes caked with mud.

We reached the nutrition screening location after walking along the mountain side for more than one hour. The screening location was a veranda of the Po Si Ngai village classroom. Po Si Ngai Village is one of the 20 poorest villages of Bat Xat District of Lao Cai province where Samaritan’s Purse is implementing a maternal and child health project.

Malnourished children in a poor Vietnamese village are receiving help from Samaritan's Purse

Many malnourished children live in remote villages do not have access to quality medical care.

I have visited many impoverished villages in Lao Cai, but I have never seen a village as poor as Po Si Ngai. The children with sad eyes burdened my heart.

On this trip we screened children 6-59 months old for malnutrition. More than 60 percent of the children were malnourished. I was so sad at this result. We will work with these children and their parents to help restore them to a healthy, nutritional status.

Most of the children were well behaved and obedient, which made our work easy. All the children wore old, torn, and dirty clothes. Despite the rain, they ran and played in the yard and got wet and muddy from hair to toes. Most of the toddlers did not wear clothes.

As the children play with dirt and often put their dirty hands on their mouth, they are very susceptible to worms. The government provides a free deworming program for children ages 2 to 5, but not all children participate because their parents are too busy with farm work to go to the community clinic and receive the medicine.

The village health worker told me that there is a water shortage in this village. The children are seldom able to take a bath. They only bathe one or two times in the stream quite far from the village.

Through the maternal and child health project, we will provide the malnourished children iron and folic acid supplements. We teach parents how to plant gardens so they can feed their children vegetables such as squash, cabbage, and pumpkins.

I’m thankful for the chance to meet the children in Po Si Ngai village. I am grateful that we can help change the lives of these families and their young children. I see God’s mercy and love upon these children, and by His strength and grace, we will help provide them a healthier future.

Care for Mothers and Babies Tragically, hundreds of young mothers and thousands of newborns die every day from preventable causes. Your gift can help Samaritan’s Purse reduce the mortality rates of women and their young children by improving obstetric care, teaching essential nutrition practices, and increasing access to quality healthcare.

Prenatal & Maternity Care 013717
Suggested $75