Achilla’s Story: Battling Acute Malnutrition in pregnant & lactating women (PLW) – Karamoja
Atuhairwe Mary | Nutrition Assistant – AFI Moroto
18 year old mother of one, Achila Gloria is from Longalom village in Napak district, Uganda.
Born and raised by a single mother in a family of six children, Achilla Gloria dropped out of school at the age of 12 years. She was in Primary Three by then, but her mother could not afford the school fees and scholastic materials to keep her in school.
“After the dropout, I worked for a family in the neighbourhood as a househelp, but I also worked in the crop fields to earn extra money.” Achilla said.
In the long run, Achilla found the job hectic, time consuming, and not rewarding. She decided to quit.
“I walked over 80 Km to Katakwi, a nearby district in search of employment opportunities”, Achilla recalls. “I failed to secure a job and decided to return back home to my mother.”
In years that followed Achilla settled down in marriage but her mother preferred she stays back home until her husband paid dowry.
“At the moment I am raising my 5 month old baby from my mother’s home.” Achilla revealed. “We live on one meal a day and yet I have to breastfeed.”
Achilla developed acute malnutrition as a result of illnesses coupled with unavailability of food at home. She was discovered during active case finding carried out by Village Health Team (VHT) with support from Andre Foods International (AFI)
AFI nutritionists later reassessed Achilla by performing the Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) check followed by weight and height measurements. It became evident that she was suffering from Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM). She was immediately enrolled on the community based supplementary feeding programme for management of moderate acute malnutrition.
AFI staff recording a mother’s height measurement
Community based supplementary feeding programme is implemented by Andre Foods International (AFI) in partnership with United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP).
“I am improving steadily and I hope to be well soon. Thanks to AFI and WFP for the support”, Achilla says with a smile.
According to AFI CBSFP Report 2019, more than 5% of the pregnant and lactating mothers (4,529) admitted on the community based supplementary feeding programme in Karamoja are teenage or adolescents (age 11-18 years).
Adolescents like Achilla face major problems like poor nutrition as a result of poor culture and Socio-economic status.
AFI data clerk, Lokut sharing nutrition key messages with Achilla at an outpost