Every Child Thrives
Location: Côte D’Ivoire
Program Length: 2016-2020
2018 Fundraising Need: $182,290 Donate Now
Why the Program Exists:
On a hot day in Canada, most parents don’t think twice about letting their children run barefoot through a freshly-cut field. But in Côte D’Ivoire, this simple activity can have life-altering ramifications. Due to polluted water and poor sanitation, soil is often contaminated with worms (part of the soil-transmitted helminths family). The infected soil also leeches into the water, where the families bathe and drink. When children are exposed to the contaminated soil or water, these worms enter their bloodstream. Any vitamins and nutrients the child ingests helps the worms grow and leaves the child at risk for multiple health issues, such as fatigue, stunted growth and vitamin A malabsorption—a leading cause of death among children under 5 years old in Côte D’Ivoire and Kenya.
Without this essential vitamin, children are at risk for blindness, infection, and mental and physical development delays.
Côte D’Ivoire currently has a national deworming program run through schools, but only for children aged 5 and older. Children who are infected under the age of 5, especially those from poor communities, often do not receive treatment.
Every Child Thrives is a four-year program to reduce morbidity among 1.4 million preschool age children in Kenya and Côte D’Ivoire through vitamin A supplementation and deworming initiatives. Through the program, health workers and volunteers in Côte d’Ivoire travel to schools, homes and community hubs, such as marketplaces, to provide deworming treatment and vitamin A to ensure as many children as possible receive the help they need.
Since 2016, effect:hope has conducted the following activities in 24 districts in Côte d’Ivoire through Every Child Thrives:
• Provided 1.3 million children under 5 with deworming medicine and vitamin A supplements. This care continues every six months for four years.
• Equipped 16 national trainers, 24 district trainers, 633 doctors and nurses and 3,365 community health workers and volunteers with knowledge on administering treatment and vitamins to care for the community.
• Organized a community outreach/education event where 140 girls and 170 boys under the age of 5 received deworming treatment and vitamin A.
• Reduced stigma by teaching 3,998 health workers and volunteers about gender equality through informational workshops.
Bridging the health gap for children under 5
By Dr. Julien Ake, Senior Technical Advisor, Neglected Tropical Diseases
Soubega Fatoumata and her husband have three children, a 16 and 13-year-old and an 11-month-old. The family lives in the southern part of Côte d’Ivoire.
Fatoumata is a small trader in town. She wakes up early every morning to sell children’s clothes around her area and returns home before noon to take care of her family by cooking meals and doing housework. Her husband is a farmer who owns a small piece of land not too far from the house.
We met Fatoumata at our workshop on the importance of deworming and Vitamin A distribution. She is now able to clearly recognize worm infection symptoms in a child such as nausea, a protruding belly, tiredness, stomach cramps, bloating, and severe weight loss. Fatoumata is committed to giving her youngest child all he needs to grow up healthy.
Fatoumata has become an advocate in her community. She encouraged her neighbour, Bamba Mariam, to attend our Every Child Thrives campaigns, deworm and give Vitamin A to her 3-year-old daughter. Mariam and Fatoumata are grateful to effect:hope supporters who have supported their children through good health.
Did you know?
• More than two-thirds of children in Côte D’Ivoire and Kenya require treatment for intestinal worms (WHO).
• Soil-transmitted helminth infections are caused by different species of parasitic worms and affect the poorest and most deprived communities.
• Every year, up to 500,000 children worldwide go blind because of vitamin A deficiency. Half of these children die within 12 months of losing their sight (WHO).
• In Côte D’Ivoire, 57% of children under 5 are vitamin A deficient (WHO).
• Vitamin A deficiency can be prevented and treated. Periodic low-cost vitamin A supplements can reduce child mortality by up to 23 percent (WHO). Integrating this with de-worming can provide children under 5 a better foundation for lifelong health.
This innovative program is implemented by effect:hope, MAP International, and Vitamin Angels in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene Côte d’Ivoire.
The program is also undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.