A health worker weighs six month old Yamikani Aroni at the Ngabu Rural Hospital's supplementary feeding centre.
Floods and unpredictable rains have destroyed crops leaving the region's largely peasant farmers with nothing to eat. For Betina Aroni from Chidoko village in Chikwawa, this year's hunger has been the worst in years.
''I used to harvest more than five bags of maize which were enough to last us the whole year'', says Betina, a mother of four. ''This year, I only managed to harvest two bags of maize. We already finished them and we are surviving by buying'', she says.
Because of the hunger, Betina is failing to feed her family. Her youngest son Yamikani has been losing weight as she cannot produce enough milk to breastfeed him.
''I am not eating enough to produce enough milk. I also don't have other foods to give him as a supplement to the milk'', says Betina.
A month ago Yamikaniâs health started deteriorating. Due to lack of nutrients, his body started giving up and he had bouts of diarrhoea and fever. Sensing danger, Betina rushed him to Chikwawa District Hospital where, after medical assessments, Yamikani was diagnosed as suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
He was admitted into the Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit (NRU) for treatment as he had, in addition to malnutrition, other health complications that needed stabilisation.
''I stayed in the hospital for one week. During this time, he was being given milk as part of his treatment and within days his health started improving'', says Betina. After being discharged, Yamikani was referred to Ngabu Rural Hospital where he has been treated in the outpatient's unit.
Although Yamikani's health is still fragile, his mother believes that the help he is receiving will get them both back to good health.

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