A child brought back from the brink

When Cotlands began a nutrition project at Second Creek, a squatter camp in a dumping zone in the Buffalo municipal area, among the children we identified as being in critical need was little Asanda who was severely malnourished. Although seven years old, this little girl weighed only 4.9kg. She was so ill she couldn’t talk, stand or walk and was suffering from severe watery diarrhea.

When our team conducted a family counseling session with her parents, we discovered they were both HIV-positive alcoholics. Asanda was referred to the local clinic, which in turn referred her to the hospital. She was escorted there by a Cotlands team member.

The little girls condition was stabilized and she was subsequently discharged from hospital. Our team began supplying the family with e-pap and multivitamin syrup for Asanda and, in due course, she began to gain weight. Cotlands’ nurse supervisor committed herself to monitoring the child’s recovery, checking on her every second day to ensure she was being given her medication and food. Our nurse also took Asanda back to hospital for follow-up examinations. Once she was satisfied Asanda was well on the road to recovery, she arranged with a local woman interested in childcare to take over the regular monitoring.

Once hospital personnel observed that her weight was increasing gradually and the diarrhea had been controlled, they introduced anti-TB drugs to Asanda’s treatment regime.

Unfortunately, her mother went out of town to visit relatives and Asanda defaulted on her medical treatment. The matter was reported to the community’s social worker and the childcare provider was given full responsibility for Asanda’s care, taking the child into her own home. Asanda continues to receive vitamin supplements and recently went onto anti-retroviral therapy.

Through the Cotlands teams care, dedication and love for the children in this impoverished settlement, today Asanda can smile, talk and laugh and her health is stable.