Baby Ikimat* is two years old and lives in northern Kenya. Before receiving treatment, she was severely malnourished and critically ill. She weighed just over 10 pounds and her body was agonizingly bloated by fluid retention from malnutrition. The circumference of her upper arm was just 8.3 cm, the same size as a quarter. She looked months younger than her age, her limbs were wasted and her skin hung loosely on her body.
Her mother, 32-year-old Ngiyepok*, brought her to the village’s local health center in February, where Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit gave Ikimat the food and care she desperately needed. But her malnutrition was so severe that, for a time, she seemed to be worsening.
But when Save the Children returned for a follow-up visit just one month later, Ikimat’s condition had visibly improved. She had gained weight, and her mother was smiling and happy.
Here is what Ngiyepok had to say about her baby and how Save the Children’s assistance changed both of their lives.
Ikimat’s story as told by her mother
Ikimat was in such a bad condition when Save the Children came to provide medical care. I am so thankful that you came. She was very, very thin, so I am so pleased now.
Before, she was very sick for many months, I think for up to ten months. Now she is doing very well and has a very good appetite. She eats, any opportunity she gets. I wish that we had enough food to give her, though. That is the only problem – we don’t have enough food to give her [for every meal]. We just have some rice and chapatti, but not much else. But still, she is really recovering well after the treatment.
Her mood is much better too now. She is very playful! She plays all the time with the other children. The problem now is that she’s not able to walk very much yet because she hurt herself. She’s been trying to walk as she gets stronger but recently, she went to join the other children and she fell. Because her skin is fragile she wounded herself. As a result, she can’t walk at the moment, but at least she is very playful and wants to join in.
I am so happy that Save the Children came and asked her father to bring her to the hospital. At first, he wasn’t sure that it was the right thing. Save the Children assured him it was correct, and I told him too. Now he is very happy that Ikimat is so much better.