LiSa - Kitchen - the life-saving kitchen for expectant and nursing mothers and their young children in 2023 still active and needed!
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Live Saving Kitchen (LiSa Kitchen)
At Ayder University Hospital Mekelle-Tigray/Ethiopia:
A nutrition center at the College of Health Sciences
Mekelle University - Tigray/Ethiopia
Because of the massive shortage of food for the population since November 2020 due to the war, malnutrition has become a major public health problem in Tigray. It is the leading cause of deaths among children under five and their mothers. Children with acute malnutrition are three to nine times more likely to die than those with normal nutrition. The risk of embryonic damage from malnutrition during pregnancy is greatly increased.
To combat the high rates of acute malnutrition and associated mortality risk among the vulnerable population, especially pregnant and lactating women, and children under five, a so-called "life-saving kitchen," or "Live Saving Kitchen" (LiSa Kitchen) was established in October 2021 by the University of Mekelle's College of Health Sciences. The LiSa Kitchen provides two hot meals a day (lunch at 11 a.m. and dinner at 4 p.m.) for pregnant and lactating women and children under five who do not have enough to eat at home. Through innovative and cost-effective approaches by the university in conjunction with curative health services provided by the Tigray Health System, vulnerable populations are thus protected from malnutrition and its consequences. The local food for LiSa Kitchen is wheat flour / grain for bread (called "Kitcha"), as well as legumes and oil for the preparation of the typical local stew called Shiro.
The contribution of the University of Mekelle includes:
- Mekelle health centers cover the cost of electricity, water, kitchen, storage, dining hall and free treatment in case of illness for beneficiaries. Maternal and child health care is also provided free of charge.
- The centers are run by staff from the College of Health Sciences on a volunteer basis, so there are no salaries or other administrative costs for the volunteers who work for the LiSa kitchens.
- The women who benefit from LiSa-Kitchen prepare the meals themselves using ingredients provided by LiSa-Kitchen, so there are no labor costs to prepare the meals.
To date, a total of 598 pregnant and lactating women and children under the age of five are being served by the existing LiSa-Kitchen. Given the extreme food insecurity in Mekelle, the number of beneficiaries of the LiSa-Kitchen is insignificant in terms of need. However, as the total blockade continues, the ability to fund our individual and institutional supporters on the ground is becoming increasingly uncertain and dwindling. As a result, there is a threat that the number of beneficiaries will have to be reduced, or that the LiSa-Kitchen nutrition service will even have to be discontinued altogether. However, in view of the large number of people in need, the organizers consider it necessary to expand and increase the services of LiSa-Kitchen. Therefore, new sources of funding are urgently sought to continue serving the current beneficiaries (598 women and children) and to open new locations. The aim is to open two additional kitchens in the city of Mekelle and one LiSa-Kitchen in the countryside, each with the same number of beneficiaries.
Etiopia-Witten has been able to fund in April 2022 €20,000 for LiSa Kitchen service. The letter of gratitude you can read here.