Cameroon: Abdoul Bagi - Another Chance to Live Again

The 20-month-old on two occasions almost lost his life because the mother was sick during and after his birth, resulting in the non-flow of breast milk. But today, the baby is steadily coming out of Severe Acute Malnutrition.

Abdoul Bagui is only 20 months old, but his story is literally that of the proverbial cat with 9 lives. Son to 33-year-old Assaitou Oumoul, Bagui currently suffers from Severe Acute Malnutrition, SAM. "Oumoul was sick at the time of giving birth to Bagi. One month after, her breast milk stopped flowing, obliging her to introduce simple local pap to the baby," recalled Fadimatou Falmata, one of the 10 Community Health Volunteers serving with Martap Integrated Health Centre in Vina Division of Cameroon's Adamawa administrative region. Speaking to a group of five journalists from Yaounde on September 5, 2019 in Oumoul's home in Martap's Chefferie neighbourhood, Falmata said Bagui soon fell sick as he lacked the nutrients contained in breast milk. He was diagnosed with Severe Acute Malnutrition by Fadimatou in April 2019 during a routine home visit. And was promptly referred to Martap Integrated Health Centre for emergency care by the Head Nurse, Issa Iyagarou and his team. "But not long after this, the health centre ran short of the life-saving, ready-to-use therapeutic food, Plumpy Nut, which Bagui was already receiving. The development greatly hampered his recovery," Falmata noted. Assaitou Oumoul was then advised to use a local alternative while waiting for the arrival of more Plumpy Nut sachets; which she did. The product has since been available in the health centre. Today, Abdoul Bagui is steadily coming out of Severe Acute Malnutrition - thanks to the concerted efforts of the mother, the Community Health Volunteer and staff of Martap Integrated Health Centre. "The baby is fed with fairly enriched local pap, though it is not yet up to recommended UNICEF "five-star" standards. His health is much better. Before now, his ribs were clearly visible as a result of Severe Acute Malnutrition," Fadimatou Falmata stressed. Though Oumoul's breast milk is still very little, Bagui seems to find solace in fondling her mother's breast for the life-saving liquid which he has never really enjoyed. "I am hopeful that my baby will survive," said Assaitou Oumoul, the mother of five with an air of confidence. All of Oumoul's children were born at home. She is in a polygamous marriage.

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