News / Americas

Infant Children Most Vulnerable in Post-Quake Haiti

Child in shelter for earthquake survivors in Haiti
Child in shelter for earthquake survivors in Haiti

As Haitians still struggle to survive from the devastating earthquake that struck in January, infant children are among the most vulnerable.  Studies suggest poor nutrition early in life can lead to chronic diseases later.  Malnourished infants are also very susceptible to diarrhea, measles and other diseases that can turn fatal.

Twenty-year-old Daniela Luc is a new mother.  She had her first child, a girl, one month ago here in the Daihatsu camp in Port-au-Prince.

Daniela's mother is equally glad to show off her new granddaughter.  Like 30 other mothers who have given birth in the camp since the earthquake, Daniela Luc will have quite a story to tell her daughter when she is older. "I will tell my daughter that she was born at a bad time, when there was an earthquake and she was born under a tent," she said.

Nutrition experts are increasingly concerned about newborns living in tent cities.  Studies show that good nutrition in the first 24 months of a child's life is critical to their development.  And since the quake, there are concerns that child nutrition in Haiti has worsened.  Kathryn Bolles is with the humanitarian group Save the Children.

"One of the most life saving practices that a mother can do for her baby is breast feed immediately and exclusively.  And Haiti has had a relatively low exclusive and immediate breast feeding rate prior to the earthquake," she said.

Poor child nutrition in Haiti was common before the earthquake.  Many families survived on one meal a day.  The Haitian government and international NGOs have created what is known as the baby tent. The goal is to encourage and assist more mothers to breast feed their children.  Julia Bonhonnette is a nutrition counselor in the Daihatsu camp's baby tent.

"The problem we have is that mothers don't want to breast feed their baby.  We advise them to breast feed because it is better for the baby.  And if the mother still doesn't want to do it we provide artificial milk," she said.  

Kathryn Bolles says there are a number of reasons Haitian mothers fear breast feeding their babies after the earthquake. "And there were a number of them who felt like their milk had been damaged by the earthquake.  Mothers who felt like their milk had become hot, or not enough of it.  Or, impacted negatively and would actually cause harm to the babies," she said.

The counselors work individually with those mothers to get them to breast feed.

There are also nutritional problems with older children in the camps.  Officials told us there are more than 11,000 people living here. Two thousand are children.  This group of boys, all around 10 years old, say they usually eat one meal a day of rice or corn meal, no meat or vegetables.  Nutritionist Jean Baker with the AED Center for Nutrition says that can be damaging for children about to enter the rapid growth period of adolescence.

"Adolescence is another period where if you can, you want to be sure that you are providing good nutrition and good feeding.  Because these kids are going to have a growth spirt then and if you can improve their nutritional situation, that will have an impact," she said.

With so many people still out of work and no means to feed their family, proper nutrition is often impossible.  Some children eat what they can pick off of trees.  Camp officials told us food aid here is sporadic.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Judge Criticizes Argentina for 'Half-truths' at Hearing

US District Judge Thomas Griesa orders nation to stop making misleading public statements, 'half truths' concerning status of their debts
More

House to Vote on Revised Border Security Bill

Some GOP representatives optimistic party has votes needed to pass bill
More

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

Program gives street kids not only food and safety, but a chance for a better life without crossing US border
More

US Senate Kills Immigration Bill, House to Vote Friday

Earlier Thursday, Republican-led chamber abandoned plans to vote on $659 million bill that addresses influx of more than 57,000 unaccompanied Central American children
More

Argentina Defaults Again on Debt

Negotiators failed late Wednesday to reach an agreement with New York investment companies to avert the default
More

Cameroon’s Coffee Farmers Blame Government for Production Drops

Cameroon's growers, dealers and experts mourn declines in a nation that once ranked 12th in the world.
More