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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Better Lives Sought for Larimar Miners in Dominican Republic

Blue-green stone's existence on Caribbean island seen as both a boon and a curse for those looking for jobs in impoverished southwestern mountains
More

Antibiotic Resistance Found in Isolated Amazonian Tribe

Yanomami villagers in Venezuela offer rare chance to see what microbes likely shared our bodies before civilizations evolved
More

Brazil's Olympic Host Rio Has Phones Cut Due to Unpaid Bills

Brazilian telecoms firm Oi SA says it cut Internet and telephone lines after state government racked up debt of $55.7 million in unpaid bills
More

Pope Considering Cuba Stop During US Trip but No Decision

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit New York, Philadelphia and Washington in the last week of September
More

India and Canada Look Forward to Deeper Ties

Modi was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Canada in 42 years
More

Colombian Rebels Blame Government for War's Rising Death Toll

But FARC rebels declined to say whether they had broken their own ceasefire with recent attack that killed 11 government soldiers
More