15th scene: Malnutrition Clinic


Our founder member, the medical practitioner, Dr. Thabethe from Sundumbili and his wife Nokuthula, a qualified nursing sister, have initiated a project by which we look after malnourished children. In our clinic we counsel the mothers and teach them how to care for their children properly.

We examine the children, we weigh them and keep exact records of their progress. Where poverty is the reason for malnutrition and breast-feeding is not sufficient or impossible we give them milk, baby food and protein - enriched porridge free of charge. When children do not get enough protein they suffer from kwashiorkor. This is very tricky, because the children do not look like one thinks malnourished babies ought to look like, but appear fat and plump.

“O.k. This baby came to our feeding scheme on Saturday and when we saw how badly malnourished he was, we decided to admit him to the Care Centre to the Children’s Home for about six weeks for what in our own inhouse language call „power-feeding“.


This means that we are going to give him a high-protein diet, which will help to overcome the problems that he has. The problem he has is that he was fed purely on maize porridge and water because of the background of the people – em – through this it causes what we call kwashiorkor, which has an effect on the liver function and through this they retain water in their tissues (oedema) and this you can see on his face, on his cheeks here and on his hands and his wrists – you can see how swollen they are -

and on his legs and his feet are very badly swollen.


What made me worried is that already on the ankles and the wrist the skin is starting to peel and that’s a very bad sign and this is why we decided, that we should actually admit him to the Care Centre for intense care and then once his is back in the normal shape again he will go back to his mother and we are now busy admitting him to the Children’s Home.

This page is part of "An Everlasting Brotherhood" - Video film about the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

This page was last updated on Monday, 01 April 2013 01:13:01.

Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard