March 17, 2008 —
Afghan National Security and Coalition medics nursed a malnourished 2-year-old girl, weighing only seven pounds, back to health over two weeks in Arghandab District, Zabul Province, Feb. 25 to March 12.
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (March 18, 2008) — Too weak to move out of the fetal position or even utter a noise, a malnourished 2-year-old girl, weighing only seven pounds, was nursed back to health by Afghan National Security and Coalition forces medics in Arghandab District, Zabul Province, recently.
“When she arrived she weighed 7.8 pounds,” said a Coalition soldier, at the scene. “She was so weak she could not move out of the fetal position and did not respond when we gave her a bath. Apparently, the child has never even attempted to speak either.”
She was brought to the attention of the ANSF during a humanitarian aid mission in Zabul Province during Feb. 25 and Coalition forces knew she would need to receive immediate care at a nearby Coalition medical facility to survive. Her father objected because he feared insurgent reprisal for accepting help from the Coalition forces. The District Chief eased his fears by explaining the consequences of inaction.
After deliberation, the father went with his daughter to the clinic for treatment, said the soldier.
“The first two weeks of intensive care started this child on the road to recovery,” said a Coalition soldier.
During the initial stages of treatment, the medical team cared for the girl around the clock. To prevent future problems, the father was instructed on the proper care and feeding for a child of her age. By his own admission, the father had raised the infant exclusively on a diet of tea and bread.
“She devoured every ounce of food we put in front of her,” the soldier said. “Her cheeks and face really filled out in a short time, and she finally uncurled out of the fetal position enough to move on her own.”
The girl weighed 12.6 pounds when Coalition medics released her March 12. She had gained almost five pounds in 12 days.
“She still has a lot of recovering to do but she is heading in the right direction,” a soldier said.