SOS Children's nutritional programme gives Thao a new start in life
Two-year-old Thao Yong weighed less than eight kilograms when he came to the attention of staff from SOS Children’s nutritional programme in Samneua, Laos. Since the programme began, hundreds of children have received treatment for malnutrition, and are now able to look forward to a healthier future.
Thao belongs to an ethnic group that live in the Laotian mountains close to the deprived area of Samneua in Laos. Due to poor education and inadequate diets, children often suffer from severe malnutrition, and as a consequence, the child mortality rate in this group is particularly high.
In partnership with government agencies, SOS Children set up a project in this area, which provides treatment for children showing severe signs of malnutrition. Children are placed in intensive care units and given special food supplements until they show signs of improvement. They then move into one of two ‘special homes’ on the SOS Children’s Village site in Samneua, usually for a period of several months, until they are restored to health and able to return to their families.
In order to ensure the health of these children in the long-term, SOS Children provide information for families and communities to teach them about the devastating effects malnutrition can have on their children’s lives, and the steps that they can take to prevent it happening.
Thao is one of the children who received treatment on the programme after coming into contact with SOS Children in September 2010. Weighing less than eight kilograms on his arrival, his first treatment was for worms. During his stay he was given a healthy, balanced diet, vitamin supplements, and received vaccinations against common deadly diseases. Because of how severely malnourished he was, Thao needed to stay in the temporary care of SOS Children for five months. During his stay, Thao gained almost four kilograms.
Thao has now returned to live with his family in the Laotian mountains. As part of the programme, he returns to the Village every three months for a check-up to evaluate his health. His mother receives a small amount of financial support from SOS Children to buy healthy food and vitamin supplements to ensure his health. His most recent check-up indicates that Thao is healthy and is now developing normally for his age.
In total, almost 500 children have already benefited from this programme. Through programmes such as these, SOS Children are working to reduce the numbers of malnourished children in Laos, and improve their prospects for the future through a healthy diet. You can find out more about our work in Laos.