When we met Jothu he was two and a half and weighed just 4.5kg. The normal weight for a child of that age is 8.5 kg. He was suffering from severe malnutrition and we feared for his life.
Let me tell you a short story: The Varanasi Children’s Hospital is the only malnutrition center in the state of Uttar Pradesh. This is the largest state in India, with a population of 180 million people and it is widely regarded as one of the poorest. We set up the unit according to UNICEF guidelines and training and we remain the only malnutrition center for the city of Varanasi. On the Friday before Jothu arrived, we got the last of the three required government ministers to grant permission to allow us to take referrals from government workers.
On Sunday morning, little Jothu was turned away from 3 government hospitals. Fortunately a government worker sent him to us. He was critically ill, almost on his last breath. 10 or 15 minutes more and he would have been no more. With proper treatment Jothu survived and is gaining strength.