Ideally every person on the planet would have a healthy diet.
However, in Lesotho most adults and even many babies and infants do not get adequate nutrition due to poverty.
We are now receiving constant referrals of malnourished babies and infants from local health clinics in Maputsoe, Lesotho.
All of these children are well below the normal growth weights and/or heights for their age. All of them are living in poverty. There is often no food at all in their households and usually no one in the household has a permanent job. There are no social welfare grants.
Being hungry, underweight and stunted when under 2 years of age is miserable for the child, but also has a lasting legacy for their entire life , affecting not only their health but their ability to achieve educationally and economically in the future. Crucial development occurs in the first years of life and if this is prevented by undernutrition, permanent damage occurs to physical and intellectual growth. The most easily measured indicator of this permanent stunting is height. After 2 years of age, children continue to grow if they are stunted, but they never regain lost growth or catch up with their well-fed classmates.
Winter nights in Lesotho are very cold due to the high altitude. This puts the undernourished children at increased risk of infectious diseases including pneumonia and tuberculosis which further impact a child’s ability to grow well.
We distribute weekly parcels of milk, sorghum porridge and peanut butter to each child on the Health and Nutrition programme, enough to supply the calories, protein, calcium and micronutrients they would otherwise lack. We also provide warm clothing.
Lesotho has the second highest HIV prevalence rate in the world: 25 % of people in the country are living with HIV. While the Lesotho government provides free HIV treatment in the form of antiretrovirals (ARVs), these only work when taken with food and unfortunately many HIV patients are too sick to work. Many of the most vulnerable are left completely without support and this is where Action Lesotho seeks to offer medicine and help.
Our Healthcare Programme makes monthly deliveries of food and living essentials to patients who are too ill to travel. We also schedule visits from a nurse who monitors patients' physical health and ensures they are taking their medication correctly, as well as looking after their mental and emotional wellbeing.
ARVs prevent a progression from HIV to AIDS, stopping many illnesses and death, which enables a return to health and prevents person-to-person transmission of the disease. Often when a patient is well enough, they move on to one of our employment programmes where they learn skills and eventually generate income to support themselves and their families.
€27 each month would feed an infant each month and prevent life time effects of stunting.
€42 each month would feed an adult suffering from HIV and give them a chance to regain health and independence.