Treating Malnutrition through Integrated Care

Six-year-old Benicia Mervilier arrived at SBH suffering from severe anemia and severe acute malnutrition. She was first seen in the new Emergency Care Center, where the staff worked to stabilize her condition and get her fluids, oxygen levels, and blood count up. 

A young Haitian girl wears a nasal cannula while lying on a hospital bed.

Benecia when she first arrived at the Emergency Care Center.

A young Haitian girl wears a nasal cannula while lying on a hospital bed in the emergency room. Her mother leans over her bed.

Benecia’s mother feared for her daughter’s life.

After a day in the Emergency Department Benicia moved into the inpatient pediatric ward dedicated to treating acute malnutrition. With her mother by her side every day, Benicia slowly regained strength and health with intensive nutrition supplements and blood transfusions. 

SBH is home to the only fully-accessible inpatient malnutrition unit on Haiti’s southern peninsula, and for children like Benicia it is often the only place they can go to get this level of comprehensive care to put them back on the road to health. The malnutrition treatment program also includes counseling and training for caregivers, who want to make sure their children get the food they need to stay healthy but often struggle to find the resources to provide a fully nutritional diet. Training from community health workers and peer mentors can help find new ways of purchasing and preparing meals that ensure everyone in the family has enough nutritious food to eat. 

A young Haitian girl wearing a pink tank top sits cross-legged on a hospital bed.
A young Haitian girl sits on a hospital bed. Her mother sits next to her in a chair.

After 10 days of intensive treatment, Benicia’s anemia was vastly improved and she and her mother were prepared to continue her recovery at home. As they got ready to return home to Petite Riviere de Nippes, about an hour away by car, they were equipped with supplies and training to make sure that Benicia gets all the nutrients she needs going forward. Her mother was thrilled to see her looking bright-eyed and healthy again, and thanked the SBH staff for their work to help her daughter. We look forward to seeing them back at the hospital for check-ups in the future.