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Madagascar

Stimulation therapy helps undernourished children

Odile faces challenges in affording enough food for her son, Nasolo. Humanity & Inclusion provides stimulation therapy to help children like Nasolo overcome the consequences of undernourishment.

“My 16-month-old son, Nasolo, is underweight for his age,” Odile explains. “He struggles to hold things in his hands and he cannot walk yet. A community agent came to our home and found that Nasolo was malnourished.”

In Madagascar, Humanity & Inclusion trains community agents to recognize signs of malnutrition and other vulnerabilities in developing children. They then visit communities in the areas surrounding Tuléar, where malnutrition is common due to high poverty rates and dwindling food supply in an ongoing drought. The community agents identify children who may be in need of stimulation therapy and support from Humanity & Inclusion. If left untreated, malnutrition can cause developmental delays in young children which may lead to long-term disabilities or neurological disorders.

After meeting with the community agent, Odile was encouraged to enroll Nasolo in early childhood stimulation therapy at the Tuléar hospital rehabilitation center, where Humanity & Inclusion uses strategic play-based rehabilitation to encourage physical and cognitive development in undernourished children.

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Families face food insecurity

Nasolo’s mother, Odile, is only 18 and is raising her son as a single parent. She has not been able to find work, which makes it difficult for her to provide sufficient food for her only child. At the moment, she is dependent on her mother to care for both her and Nasolo.

Odile lives more than 30 miles from the rehabilitation center and has to travel for an hour and a half to bring Nasolo to his stimulation therapy sessions. To support her and other families with children in stimulation therapy, Humanity & Inclusion covers food, transportation and hotel costs, in case families need to stay overnight, as well as the cost of the rehabilitation services.

Nasolo recently attended his third stimulation therapy session with the physical therapists and continues some exercises when he is at home with his mother. He is already starting to see some results.

“He can’t walk yet, but he is now able to hold things in his hand,” Odile says. “He loves toys and he likes to come here where he can play. I am very happy now that he has started to show progress.”

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