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Saving malnourished children in Kenya

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On August 21, 2009, Mercy-USA for Aid and Development received a new $275,000 grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide life-saving assistance to malnourished children in Kenya.

Mercy-USA and the Kenyan Ministry of Health (MoH) - with the support of USAID, as well as earlier grants from UNICEF and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) - are setting up eleven sites in the Kajiado District of Kenya to treat malnourished children under five years of age, as well as pregnant women and nursing mothers. Over a one-year period, Mercy-USA expects to treat and consul approximately 2,000 children and 4,500 women.

This life-saving nutrition program is being implemented in primarily pastoral (livestock herding) communities affected by a prolonged drought. One such community, Mile 46, was visited by Mr. Rashid Khalikov, the Director of UNOCHA New York, on August 16, 2009.

Mile 46 is one of Mercy-USA's eleven sites. The joint MoH/Mercy-USA nutrition program started in the first week of August 2009. A total of 42 children have been admitted into the selective feeding program, 21 suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 21 with moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). The children with SAM are given ready to use therapeutic foods like Plumpy'Nut weekly, while those with MAM are given UNIMIX biweekly. Both are specialized food for malnourished children.