Nadine arrived at Cornerstone Clinic in September last year with her carer Capitoline. She was exactly 2 months old, but weighed only 1.8kg. It was a shock to see this tiny little girl clinging on to life, now less than her 2kg birth weight. Capitoline was desperate. She had been caring for Nadine since she was 20 days old when Nadine’s Papa came asking for help as Mama Nadine had run away. To this day no one knows what has happened to Mama Nadine. Capitoline had been trying to breastfeed Nadine and a few neighbours had given cows milk, but it was clearly obvious tiny Nadine was not thriving. Capitoline has two children of her own aged 20 and 18 years. She was widowed in 1999 when her husband died during the war, and she lives a simple life on a rural mountainside in upcountry Burundi.
Capitoline carried Nadine on her back and walked for 5 hours from a neighbouring Province as she had heard that at The Cries of a Child we help babies who need milk because they don’t have a Mama. Nadine had a check-up at the clinic where the Dr diagnosed severe growth retardation and prescribed nutritional support. We brought them to the office where our social program is based. We gave Capitoline a plate of food and quickly prepared a bottle of formula milk for Nadine who had not stopped crying since she arrived at the Clinic. Clearly she was very hungry and even being on the breast didn’t comfort her. For each baby in the milk program we give 2 bottles and a thermos flask for keeping hot water in for making up the formula milk. Water is heated in a pot over a charcoal or wood fire so by giving the thermos flask the Mamas can have water for a 12 or 24-hour period.
For all our social program cases we interview and record all the information and then do a home visit to verify the information. Methode, our office assistant and excellent investigator, went by moto the following week to visit Capitoline and Papa Nadine. The Papa and neighbours confirmed all the information Capitoline had given us was true and the Papa expressed how thankful he was that we were helping with milk.
Nadine and Capitoline visited the office weekly or bi-weekly at the beginning so we could keep an eye on Nadine’s weight. She was very slow to gain weight on the high calorie pre-term infant formula we were using. Nadine was prone to sickness and had malaria, diarrhoea and infections throughout the first months she was in the milk program. This did not help with weight gain. Capitoline continued to be joyful and faithfully gave of herself to care for little Nadine who clearly now saw Capitoline as her Mama – crying when someone else holds her!
At each visit the social program team pray for Nadine and Capitoline and this is such a vital part of our support for the family, with Capitoline prompting us to pray for them if we forget! We love seeing God work in the hearts of people as well as seeing the grams of weight increasing each time! We praise God that Nadine at 8 months old now weighs 6.5kg, is thriving and is a clear testimony of how through God’s provision of formula milk we have been able to save this little girl’s life. Nadine has a destiny and we pray she will continue to grow and know the powerful love of God in her life.
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