The Milk and Medicine Program Evaluation: Lusaka, Zambia
Dr. Deborah Sturtevant, Hope College
The HIV and AIDS epidemic is sweeping through Zambia, Africa at an unsettling rate. This epidemic plays a dramatic part in the increase of orphans and vulnerable children. The Christian Alliance for Children in Zambia (CACZ), a faith-based, non-governmental organization implemented its Milk and Medicine Program in 2004. CACZ’s goal is, “to improve child health and strengthen families to prevent child abandonment and institutionalization.” The program distributes nutritional supplements, medicine and limited social work support for those involved in the program. It has served approximately 300 children since its inception. This research seeks to understand the efficacy of the Milk and Medicine Program.
The purpose of this on going research, conducted annually through 2012, is to provide an understanding of the aggregate data to enable CACZ to provide services to orphans and vulnerable children so that they may thrive. This particular study analyzed over ten variables that included weight and age comparisons to Zambian normal growth charts for a sample size of 107 children. The proportion of weight gained for the children who were underweight on admission compared to growth chart weights is 8% for the group, 8% for boys, and 9% for girls. Based on these findings, our recommendations included adding vitamin and mineral supplements, improving and standardizing record keeping, and adding length to the data. The results demonstrated a strong relationship between length of time in program and weight gained and supported the case for long-term infant feeding programs for orphaned and vulnerable children.
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