“I was sad when my first child was slightly malnourished, even though I had joined the nutrition club in my village since I was just three months pregnant,” Mui recalls.
The young rural mother could not sit still to see her malnourished child. Child malnutrition is linked with increased risk of disease and can lead to reduced mental and physical development as children grow. Mui was determined to change the situation.
“Perhaps my child’s malnutrition status was my fault,” she admits. “I realised that having nutrition knowledge is essential, but thoroughly applying what I learned (in the nutrition club) counts for much more. This has urged me to continue participating in the club even after delivery to improve her nutrition.”
When her child was three months old, she decided come back to the nutrition club again with determination to be more regular. She learned how to plant vegetables and raise some poultry for more nutritional supplements from her farming plots. “I learnt that myr chid would need to eat more nutrients after six months of being exclusively breastfed with her milk,” she said. She wanted to be ready.
The nutrition club was set up with 25 mothers and caregivers in March 2010 when World Vision started to work in Mui’s community, Cuong Chinh commune, where 31 per cent of under-five children were identified as malnourished.
“Now my daughter is nearly nine months old. She weighs 7.8 kilogrammes and has six milk-teeth. She would not have had such growth if I did not join the nutrition club in my village. I got nutrients from my farmland for my child. Some nutrients now are available in my gardens. I am also able to bring some to market for more family income beside the money my husband earns casually by repairing electrical appliances,” the young mother beams.
“We recently did a survey of child malnutrition rate in our community. Up to June 2013, this rate has fallen to 17 per cent out of the total number of 430 under-five children,” says Vu Thi Lieu, head of the nutrition club. Thanks to the nutrition club.