Spotlight on SAM: ADRA in Madagascar
While the white sands of Madagascar’s Toamasina beaches may create a traveler’s oasis, ADRA (Adventist Development & Relief Agency) has created a refuge for local children dying from SAM. ADRACRENI (Center for Intensive Recuperation & Nutritional Education) receives an average of three children suffering from SAM a day. The lifesaving work that ADRA is doing is vital in Madagascar, a country where entire families starve, the average life expectancy is 56, and a mere 5% of the population attends high school.
Children who come to the ADRA center receive treatment in two phases: stabilization through intravenous nutrients and a high-protein diet once they regain their appetites. ADRA welcomes the children’s families as well, covering transportation costs, feeding all family members during their stay, and educating mothers on balanced nutrition and hygiene. Vluluna, an ADRA center nurse, explains, “These families are so poor that they not only have very little to eat, but also are unable to balance a diet or even read medicine labels. We teach them with pictures and give practical cooking lessons with food provided by ADRA.”
Fortunately, ADRA‘s work has been recognized by the government of Madagascar. Government authorities have asked ADRA to expand the geographical reach of their program, offering refuge to even more deserving children.