“All I can say is that without this hospital, I wouldn’t have my only daughter.”
Fourteen-month-old Dabencia was severely malnourished when she first arrived at our doors. “I came here without hope,” her father Davidson said.
According to UNICEF, nearly 40% of Haiti’s population is food insecure, and more than 167,000 children like Dabencia are suffering from acute malnutrition. Davidson has worked hard to provide for his only daughter. However, it has been tough for him to earn enough money since his wife passed away just three months after Dabencia was born. The COVID-19 pandemic, frequent periods of unrest, and the summer’s severe drought have put even greater pressure on vulnerable families like Davidson’s. Work is scarce, and food and basic necessities are more expensive than ever.
“My experience at the hospital has been a big one. When I met with the doctors and nurses… I began to regain my confidence in her recovery,” Davidson said. Dabencia was admitted to our pediatric malnutrition ward for inpatient care. Our clinicians put her on a strict feeding regimen that slowly reintroduced vital nutrients to her body and helped her gain weight. Dabencia was also constantly monitored to ensure she wasn’t developing infections or other complications, which are common for severely malnourished children.
Slowly but surely, Dabencia began to gain weight and growing stronger. After four months of care, she was finally ready to return home. Davidson met with clinicians and community health staff to learn how to continue her treatment at home. He also received a supply of fortified peanut butter to help Dabencia continue to gain weight. Our community health team will check in with the pair frequently to ensure Dabencia remains on the road to recovery. “I would say thank you so much to the pediatrics staff,” Davidson said as he prepared to leave. “I have this happiness that has taken over my whole body. I can’t wait to go home and show everyone at my house who had lost hope, how she has become a young girl!”