The Erik Project
His name was Erik. I never met him. He died from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). In other words, he starved to death.
The Erik Project is a new ministry that we are just beginning to work on. In February of 2017, the district medical officer, Dr. Binela, asked us to come and meet with him. His request was simple – could we help with re-feeding children who were hospitalized with SAM. Although there are commercial formulas available, they were unable to find a source, and so they were making their own formula from 3 common ingredients – milk, sugar, and oil. They needed help buying the ingredients, and with no hesitation, we said we would do this.
Dr. Binela offered to let us meet the 3 children who were currently being treated for SAM. However, when we arrived, there were only two. Erik had died during the night, his fragile body unable to recover from the ravages of starvation. We learned that many of the children who come to the hospital are too far along to save. So we decided to try to intervene before it was too late, and the Erik Project was born.
Currently we are doing research regarding needs and resources, and we are looking at other similar programs, both in Tanzania, and in other East African countries. Our plan is to do nutritional assessments in the villages that have had multiple children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) or moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). Once children who are at risk are identified, we will supply supplemental nutrition to prevent both MAM and SAM. Education in health, hygiene and nutrition will also be provided to the parents of these children.