Mali mother and child

Players of People's Postcode Lottery join the fight against hunger

The players of People’s Postcode Lottery have joined Action Against Hunger in our mission to revolutionise the way malnourished children are diagnosed and treated around the world.

By Action Against Hunger

Mar 26 2018

Around 16 million children are suffering from life-threatening malnutrition today. Shockingly, only 1 in 5 of them are able to access the treatment they need to recover. This is often because help is simply too far away, with many families having to walk up 40km weekly to their nearest clinic. Poor nutrition in the early years of life can permanently damage a child’s physical and cognitive development, robbing whole communities of a future.

Together with the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are entering the second phase of a ground-breaking project in Mali, to transform the way malnutrition is identified and treated. We are training Community Health Workers to identify cases of malnutrition, and treat children at home so their families don’t have to travel hours to the nearest health facility. We’re aiming to reach 15,000 children with potentially life-saving treatment, so they can grow up strong and reach their full potential.

We’re also building an evidence base proving that this way of treating malnutrition means that we can reach and cure twice as many children. This will encourage other regions and countries to adopt this method – impacting millions more children suffering from malnutrition worldwide. The Government of Mali have already committed to introduce it into their healthcare structure, and similar pilot projects are being set up elsewhere, laying the foundations for this innovative method to replicated globally, helping us to reach more malnourished children than ever before. 

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, added: “Thousands more malnourished children will receive help from Action Against Hunger and it’s all thanks to the players who raise vital funds for charities. We are so pleased to support this incredible project in Mali.” 

This is Samakoun (centre) – he’s two years old and lives in Southwestern Mali with his mother Namusa (left) and three siblings. A few months ago, he was suffering from life-threatening malnutrition. Namusa said: “I noticed that something was wrong very wrong - he was very hot. He wasn’t able to keep his food down and then he stopped eating altogether. He usually smiles a lot and he likes to play, but he became so weak.”

“Kindiaba (right), the community health worker who moved to our village a few months ago, weighed and measured Samakoun, and took his temperature. She told me that he was ill with undernutrition and that he needed special treatment immediately. She gave me Ticadekeni [a ready-to-use therapeutic food used to treat malnourished children] to feed him and organised follow-up treatment once a week. After just a few weeks, he had recovered.”

“Before Kindiaba arrived, we had to walk for many hours to get to the nearest health centre. It’s so far and it meant we had to leave the other children behind for a long time. Even when we did manage to go, we weren’t able to prepare a meal for our other children or fetch water from the well.”

“My dream is for Samakoun to study and do well in life. The arrival of the community health worker has made a huge difference to our community. Children in the village no longer die from disease. They recover when they’re ill. I feel more at ease - I’m less worried for my children now.”

Thanks to the players of the People's Postcode Lottery, we'll be able to reach more children like Samakoun in Mali, and around the world. 

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Images:  i-Images, Ben Stevens for Action Against Hunger