Nutrition and Hygiene in Vietnam

March 24, 2014 • Vietnam
Nutrition and Hygiene in Vietnam

A Samaritan's Purse program helps a young mother keep her child healthy and well fed.

Nguyen Thi Bich is a nurse who works with Samaritan’s Purse to teach people about the importance of nutrition and hygiene. 

It was a drizzling cold day. The car was running on a bumpy and dangerous road, and we felt like we were sitting on a horse.

Finally, we got to the village. We stopped at the entrance where the village health worker, Venh, was waiting for us. He led us on a 20-minute climb up the mountain. We stopped at a simple house located in a secluded place of the mountainside. Inside were 20-year-old Pla and her family. They were sitting around an open fire to keep them warm in the cold, rainy weather.

Pla was wearing traditional H’mong clothing. She had a sunburnt and austere face, but it shone with a smile as she greeted us. I sat next to Pla, who was carrying her 13-month-old son, Vu. We listened to what she shared.

Nutrition and Hygiene in Vietnam

Pla used seeds given to her by Samaritan’s Purse to grow this garden, providing food for her family during the winter.

“My son used to be very skinny and weak,” she said. “But then we received the care and nutrition support from Samaritan’s Purse. Each month, Samaritan’s Purse provided my son with 30 sachets of Davinkid [a supplementary food], one for each day. I mixed that with rice or porridge or fed it to my son directly. After three months of using this product, I saw a big change. His appetite has increased. He gained weight but has not recovered from stunting yet. I bring my son to the commune clinic for measurement every month. I’m always very happy to see that he gains weight. And I’m so thankful to the project where there is a gentle face who kindly cares for the poor people in this area.”

Her eyes brimmed with tears while she was speaking.

“After attending the training on washing hands with soap, preparing food for young children, and caring for sick children at home, I know that before cooking meals for my son and for the whole family I have to wash hands with soap,” she said.

Looking at Vu, I saw a difference in the child. His face was more ruddy, his skin looked healthier, and he was more active than before. I picked him up to measure his height and weight. While giving his mother 30 sachets of Davinkid for the next month’s use, I prayed silently that God would help him eat well and grow rapidly to recover from malnutrition.

Pla also showed me the vegetable garden grown with the seeds received from the project. I was amazed at the result of her efforts. Now the family has a lot of safe, green vegetables in their meals. This is one of the main foods for them to use in the cold winter.

We returned to the commune health clinic. I hope that there will be more people like Pla in the project who give the best care to their children by putting what they learned from the project into practice.