Asraful Ali, an 8-day old infant is brought to GC4 from Chenga block of Barpeta by his mother and grandmother. He is wailing, and the reason we soon discover, is hunger. Due to his cleft, the mother is not being able to feed the baby well. Moromi, the Nutrition Counsellor, mixes some formula in a bowl and feeds the baby with a spoon- immediately peace prevails.
Too young to be given surgery, Asraful is inducted into the Too Young category of the Cleft Nutrition programme. The objective of this is to ensure that the care-givers can provide counseling on feeding and hygiene till the time Asraful is 6 month old and can receive surgery safely.
Talking with the mother, we came to know about the hardship the child’s family has to bear in their past days. When Asraful’s mother was pregnant, she had to deliver her baby at home since the flood waters prevented the pregnant mother to be taken to the hospital. After the birth, the family was aghast to see that Asraful is born with cleft lip and cleft palate. On the third day of his birth, Asraful was taken to the state medical college at Barpeta, where he was referred to Guwahati Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre.
Moromi counselled the mother on proper feeding positions- since children with cleft cannot be held in the usual positions for breast-feeding.
After a bit of enquiry, it was also revealed that the clothes he was wearing have not been washed after being purchased from the market leading to rashes all over his body. They were therefore counseled on how to maintain personal hygiene. We further discovered that the mother is anaemic and underweight. Another brief followed where we counselled the mother-in-law about diet for lactating mothers.
Asraful will come back to GC4 after 2 months for check-up. His weight will be checked again and more counseling will follow as per the development of the child. This will be done till the child is 6 months old and attains a minimum body weight of 6 kg, both necessary parameters for Asraful to receive corrective surgery for his cleft lip.
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