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'You gave my baby a second life'

Ethiopia, October 12, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Bija Gutoff/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Sahane received fortified milk, antibiotics, vitamins, deworming medication and Plumpy'nut at our stabilization center. Photo: Bija Gutoff/Mercy Corps

When Istohil Sheik Ahmed Abdi brought her 9-month-old son Sahane to the Mercy Corps mobile clinic in her area, she hoped to learn why he was so weak. The baby cried constantly, was vomiting and refused to nurse. He had a high fever.

Istohil and her family live as pastoralists, relying on their animals for milk and income. The drought had killed all their livestock except one camel. They were so poor that Sahane had no clothes. He weighed less than seven pounds.

The Mercy Corps team quickly examined Sahane and told Istohil she needed to accompany her son to our stabilization center in Gashamo, where the sickest babies are taken in for a few days of intensive care. The goal is to get them strong enough to survive and benefit from further treatment.

Istohil dropped everything and traveled with Sahane to the stabilization center in a Mercy Corps vehicle. There he received fortified milk, antibiotics, vitamins, deworming medication and, eventually, Plumpy'nut, a high-protein therapeutic paste made from peanuts.

One week later, Sahane has gained almost a pound. His mom is pleased with his progress. “I am very thankful to Mercy Corps,” she said. “I lost hope that he would survive, and you have saved my child. You gave my baby a second life, and I feel more love for him than ever before.”