Amid pandemic and hunger, Juba’s children find refuge in nutrition centers

“I have no idea about malnutrition because none of my children experienced it until 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and made life difficult for us," says Martha, 30.

Martha Naam is a mother of four who left her hometown in South Sudan’s Torit County to join her husband Dominic, a daily wage earner, in Juba.

“My youngest daughter became malnourished and I had sleepless nights seeing my child go through pain,” she adds. She treated her daughter with herbal medicines and her condition worsened until a neighbor, Poni, shared with her about World Vision’s nutrition program.

Khemisa was checked for anemia by the nutrition site's nurse as Martha looked on.


She recalls, “My first reaction was. how much do they charge. When she told me it was free, I immediately rushed to the facility.” 

Martha’s baby girl went through the treatment for two months and her condition improved. “I was hopeless when we started, but after completing the one-week supplement, I was relieved of the changes.”

World Vision Canada’s gift-in-kind (GIK) program provided 900 cartons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to support the 15 nutrition centers in Juba.

Apart from the malnutrition treatment and support, the mothers also attend the health and nutrition awareness session to improve the way they take care of their children as well as themselves.


The program saves an estimated 10-15 children’s lives daily at the Gumbo Nutrition Center. Martha shares, “The RUTF truly helped my child. Now she breastfeeds well, and I am grateful to the team at the hospital for working tirelessly to see my daughter recover.”

I urge all mothers to take the health education seriously and put it into practice. It is our obligation as mothers to take care of our children.

The mothers are given health and nutrition education sessions on maternal, infant and young child nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene practices; preventive measures for COVID-19, and how to monitor their children’s progress using the family mid-upper arm circumference tapes issued to them. 

“I urge all mothers to take the health education seriously and put it into practice. It is our obligation as mothers to take care of our children,” Martha shares.

Hellen Koki, 18 years old, with one child, says, “The services offered at the facility helped my daughter. As a first-time mother, it was difficult for me when my child got sick.”

A first time mother, Hellen was relieved her daughter has fully recovered.


According to a UNICEF Report, about 1.4 million children under the age of five will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021, including over 300,000 children projected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Hellen adds, “It is fulfilling to see my child well again. I appreciate World Vision for the work they do in the community.”

World Vision’s Roving Nutrition Manager Rahab Kimani says, “The RUTF supplies from the GIK program have been very helpful in ensuring the timely rations for children. Since the COVID-19 pandemic and with the hunger crisis, each child has been receiving a daily dosage of two sachets translating to 28 sachets for two weeks.”

Kimani adds, “This has set the project’s performance indicators above the minimum Global Sphere Standards across the centers. The current donation, a total of 316 cartons were used to treat 424 children admitted with severe acute malnutrition in all the 15 Nutrition sites in Juba.”

Martha is a happy mother as her baby Khemisa fully recovered from malnutrition.


Story and photos by Scovia Faida Charles Duku, Communications Manager