Written by: Jesus Tupacyupanqui Zuniga, Doctor at CADEP José María Arguedas Cusco
Can love overcome a disease? A hug, a smile or an “I am with you”?
The eagle is an extraordinary bird, with sharp vision and large, strong wings that carry them through the midst of storms. It is for Hope that in adverse situations, similar to the storms facing the eagles, we rise up like a leafy tree to bear fruit, be agents of change, and contribute to a society that groans for the glorious manifestation of its children.
A door of Hope is necessary when we see only the problems and diseases that shout out loud in our minds that there is no better tomorrow.
We hear these voices in our children, who were born in the most remote places of our country, deep in Peru, places of extreme poverty, in communities such as Q’eros. But our brothers in the Q’eros Nation, brave men and women, in whose hands the marks of their daily struggle are impregnated, inhabit the Andes of our Peruvian highlands at more than 15,000 feet above sea level, withstanding the inclemency of nature, such as intense cold, added to the absence of basic sanitation resources. They, due to their character and strength, stand firm, but with great health needs.
We can affirm that health is a determining factor in the development of the person, both as an individual, and as a being that contributes in society. Therefore, the existence of diseases that occur at an early age in our children, will have a great impact on their personal future and that of society. Within these diseases, malnutrition is a silent but devastating disease, whose long-term effects on those who possess it are catastrophic, affecting cognitively, emotionally and physically.
In Peru, chronic malnutrition in children under 5 years old reached 25.3% in rural areas and 8.2% in urban areas, according to ENDES 2017, with the Andean high regions being the most affected.
These high rates are worrisome since these are the boys and girls who will take the reins of Peru in the not too distant future.
As we mentioned in previous paragraphs, hope fills us with faith to obtain favorable results in difficult situations. That is why in 2019, CADEP José María Arguedas, in cooperation with the Esperança Foundation and the Jackson Kemper Foundation of the United States, is implementing activities to improve the nutritional status of children in the Q’eros communities.
In our first steps, the health team has carried out the nutritional evaluation of 33 children aged 5 to 13 years, from the educational institutions of the primary level of Coluyo and Tandaña, whose results show that of the 33 children evaluated, 9% have malnutrition and 63.3% have short stature, evidence of the lack of long-term nutrients, and strictly from the nutritional point of view, 63, 3% (21 children) correspond to malnutrition chronicle.
The causes that lead to malnutrition are diverse, primarily a deficit in food, associated with anemia, diarrheal, parasitic and respiratory diseases. The high percentage of malnourished children is just the tip of the iceberg of all the problems facing the children of Q’eros. In this scenario, CADEP José María Arguedas joins the Peruvian Government’s fight against malnutrition and anemia in the National Plan for the reduction and control of childhood maternal anemia and chronic childhood malnutrition 2017-2021, for which we have started:
- a semi-annual deworming of all the Q’eros children
- strengthening the capacity of parents through nutrition demonstrations based on the vegetables grown from their new greenhouses, and other food products that are within reach of the inhabitants such as guinea pig meat, alpaca, and chicken
- workshops for strengthening hygiene techniques
This year, we will continue working to bring health to our brothers in Q’eros, because the fight against malnutrition afflicts the generations of today AND tomorrow.