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THE LABYRINTH OF SOUTH SUDAN
Chapter V: Malnutrition

THE LABYRINTH OF SOUTH SUDAN: Malnutrition

Fidia is 7 months old and weighs barely 4 kilos. She lives in South Sudan, but if she had been born in the UK, she might weigh twice as much.

We’ve saved her life four times,” says Xavier. “She has spent more of her life inside the hospital than out.”

 

Cradled in her mother's arms in a worn pink sweater, Fidia doesn’t stop breastfeeding. She doesn’t move, and she hardly cries. She has been admitted again to the MSF hospital in Malakal. No one knows what came first, malnutrition or tuberculosis. She had pneumonia in the past and was admitted. On another occasion she had malaria and was admitted. Four times so far. The overcrowding in the camp her family lives in is forcing her to fight for her life time and time again. “If there was a measles epidemic here, the contagion would skyrocket,” the doctor says.

Her mother makes an effort to feed Fidia whenever the child reaches for her breast. Despite her constant battle against disease, she clearly wants to stay alive.

“Now we are saving her again,” says Xavier, looking at the girl.

That is the immediate priority.

We don’t talk about what will come next.

Fidia, seven months old, fighting for her life in an MSF hospital. Her mother does not leave her side.| ANNA SURINYACH