Improving the lives of under-fives in Bangladesh

Improving the lives of under-fives in Bangladesh

Why MAF's floatplane is helping to improve the lives of those suffering from malnutrition

MAF's floatplane is improving the lives of children under five in Bangladesh who are suffering from malnutrition, along with pregnant women and mothers. Our flights for Swiss NGO Terre des Hommes enable them to serve over 7,000 families in Barguna District who live in coastal villages prone to cyclone devastation.

This region endures poor services, social-economic and environmental conditions.

This has created problematic cycle such as high-risk pregnancies and acute malnutrition of which women and children are most vulnerable.

The NGO mobilises communities by organising group discussions, cooking demonstrations and campaigns to raise awareness on health, nutrition and hygiene.

They also provide food assistance to women and children with moderate or acute malnutrition.

The area is very remote and hard to reach by land. Our float plane can deliver workers safely, quickly, as Mr Shahid Kamal explains: ‘I am physically more comfortable when flying with MAF.

'If I were to travel on the road, I would be wasting so much time and after the trip, my body would need to rest for at least two days. Flying with MAF helps me be more time efficient and allows me to perform my best at work.’

Bangladesh facts to get you thinking

  • 46% of all girls aged between 15 and 19 are married
  • 33 million children live below the poverty line
  • 13% of children under the age of 14 work
  • 22% of all babies weigh less than 2.5kg at birth.
(Sources: UNICEF, UNDP - 2014)

Terre des Hommes also provides dry food and basic treatment for children and women with moderate or acute malnutrition. In severe cases, children receive therapeutic food, or are referred to a Special Nutrition Centre if they have complications.

As a balanced diet is essential, the NGO also help women to start their own homestead gardens, which ensures they have fresh vegetables all year-round.

Dry food and basic treatment is provides to women and children with moderate or acute malnutrition. They also helps women to start their own homestead gardens so they can have fresh vegetables throughout the year.

Four-year-old Mim was diagnosed with acute malnutrition. Thanks to Terre des Hommes, she received food, medicine and a weekly visit, and is now feeling better.

Her mother, Asma, began attending group meetings to learn how to cook nutritious foods for her daughters such as kitchuri - a dish with rice, lentils and vegetables cooked together, sometimes served with an egg, fish or meat.

Women such as Asma have very few options to learn about nutrition and provide help for malnourished children.

Her mother, Asma Begun, shares, ‘I am very happy my daughter is now okay. She is livelier and plays more than she did before.’

Dalim Begum uses a homestead garden. It’s a small, highly-productive type of garden promoted by Terre des Hommes to encourage vegetable growing to improve nutrition. It is also raised to help prevent it flooding.

From the garden, Dalim can feed her family with nutritious vegetables year-round and sell vegetables in the market to help with her children’s education. She is saving seeds from this year’s garden so she doesn’t need to buy those seeds the next planting.

Dalim shares, 'This garden is better than the traditional garden because I am using compost that provides nutrition for the whole garden.'