Good Nutrition Combats Many Childhood Ills at NPH Haiti
Raising healthy children is hard in a country or family plagued by poverty. At NPH, children are free to learn, play, and grow as they should, without worry for their health, nutrition, and other critical needs.
April 10, 2019 - Haiti
Due to economic instability, the price of food has greatly increased in the Haiti. This fact makes the agricultural program at NPH Haiti more important than ever. Among the most expensive items are rice, beans, herring, oil, meat, some vegetables, and milk—especially milk-based formula for babies. On our farm, we grow vegetables that are no longer reasonably priced and are therefore out of reach due to the rising costs.
At NPH Haiti, we provide food for the hundreds of children and young adults living in our remote homes, like St. Helene, St. Anne, and St. Simon. We also provide meals three times a day for those who live onsite. Additionally, we provide daily lunch for the nearly 1,000 students from our neighboring communities who attend our school, as well as meals for employees who staff our schools, homes, and other programs.
One such person who fully understands the depth of support that NPH brings to Haiti is Dr. Rachel FanFant, who has 27 years of experience in our homes and programs. She loves working at NPH for all it does for the poor and vulnerable children and families in Haiti. She says two of the areas where NPH makes the biggest impact on the country are the free education and healthcare we provide to our children, as well as the high-quality 24-hour medical services that are offered to anyone who comes to our door in need.
Speaking to the condition of the children in NPH’s care, Dr. FanFant notes in particular the challenge of addressing the wide range of medical need present within our child population—ranging from kids with no medical problems at all to children who have heart disease, sickle cell anemia, or immunodeficiency complications.
Dr. FanFant identifies our robust nutrition program as one of the main reasons children living at NPH do not face malnutrition issues, which is common all across the country. Not only do we have healthy food available, but we also have it in a variety of recipes to help ensure that children have plenty of options to keep their stomachs full.
Typical meals prepared by our kitchens include rice, chicken, corn, or beans with a few tasty sauces to add a little flavor on top. Occasionally, meals also contain fish, eggplant, cheese, stewed vegetables, or soups.
Milk is served every day, which is essential to ensuring healthy growth for all of our children. We also have special programs and diets for children who arrive underweight.
“I visit the kitchen twice a week to check that all the nutritional components of our diet are being met. And I also have a meeting once a month with the kitchen staff to discuss further ways that we can improve the food we serve to the children. I talk with the medical care program at the clinic once every other month. And if we find there is a meal that children consistently don’t eat, we find a way to replace it with a new dish.”
The emphasis on full, healthy diets goes a long way, especially in a country where one out of every three children suffers from chronic malnutrition. Less than 50 percent of households have access to safe water and only 25 percent benefit from adequate sanitation. One-third of Haitian children and women are anemic. But thanks to your support and the hard work of our staff, NPH Haiti is able to do everything it can to ensure that the children in our care grow up healthy and optimistic, free to focus more on their studies, family, and building a brighter future.
To read "10 Facts About Hunger In Haiti,' visit reliefweb.int/report/haiti/10-facts-about-hunger-haiti.