Every Child Thrives
Program Length: 2016-2020
2018 Fundraising Need: $113,240 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 Kenya, 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 Kenya and Côte D’Ivoire.
Without this essential vitamin, children are at risk for blindness, infection, and mental and physical development delays.
Kenya has a national deworming program run through schools, but not every child attends class. Children under 5 who aren’t in the education system often miss out on this life-saving 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 Kenya 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 been conducting the following activities in 3 counties in Kenya through Every Child Thrives:
• Provided 427,704 children under 5 with deworming medicine and vitamin A supplements. This care continues every six months for four years.
• Equipped 10 national trainers, 103 county-level health workers and 1,810 community health volunteers and Early Childhood Development teachers with knowledge on administering treatment and vitamins to care for the community.
• Reduced stigma by teaching 1,913 health workers and volunteers about gender equality through informational workshops and community-led activities.
• Organized 9 community activities to educate communities on children’s health for all girls and boys, which includes nutrition and neglected tropical diseases.
• Trained 35 community leaders on the importance of de-worming, vitamin A supplementation as well as women’s decision-making roles and male involvement to promote a positive, safe and healthy environment for children.
Growing up healthy
As a 36-year-old mother, Joelle constantly worried about her two sons, aged 3 and 1, who were frequently sick and had little-to-no appetite. As the situation worsened, she decided to take her eldest to the hospital. A doctor explained that her son had an intestinal worm and a vitamin A deficiency and provided treatment and vitamin A capsules. The effect:hope team followed up with Joelle’s family with continued treatment. Today, Joelle’s sons are healthy and thriving. She shares the following message with effect:hope donors: “Now, my children eat a lot and have a normal weight. I also try to give them vegetables and fruits to help them grow as healthy as possible. I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to my doctor and to everyone who helps provide vitamin A and deworming treatments for our children.”
Did you know?
• More than two-thirds of children in Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire 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 Kenya, 84% 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 will be implemented by effect:hope, MAP International, and Vitamin Angels in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Kenya.
The program is also undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.