When 3-year-old Liella of Rutegama, Burundi, was 1, she became so sick that her body swelled up and sores broke out on her skin. The local witch doctor’s remedy failed, so her mother heeded advice of community health workers to admit the weakening toddler to the hospital. Liella was severely malnourished.
She received special food to help restore her back to vibrancy.
“It is only God who decided to [bring] her back; she had gone,” says Anne, her grandmother.
Little Liella represents 1 million Burundian children younger than 5 who are chronically malnourished. This period from birth to age 5 is such a critical time in a child's physical development — and it's also when children living in poverty are especially vulnerable.Globally, 6.6 million children younger than 5 die each year due to mostly preventable causes like malnutrition, diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, and waterborne diseases.
Pray with us for Liella, her family, and children younger than 5 around the world, who constantly struggle to stay healthy and thrive.
Suggested prayer points
Pray for efforts to reduce under-5 mortality rates worldwide.
Liella is now vibrant, thanks to attentive health workers in her community, World Vision staff who administered the therapeutic feeding program, the local health department, and the supplier of the special nutrient-rich food. It’s all a part of a worldwide effort, known as the Millennium Development Goals, to reduce by 2015 the mortality rate of children younger than 5 by two-thirds.
Lord, we praise You for restoring Liella and many other children to good health. In Jesus’ name, empower leaders and healthcare workers to create reliable networks, policies, and infrastructure to better treat sick children.
Pray for efforts to improve child nutrition in Burundi.
About 58 percent of children in Burundi are moderately to severely stunted — short for their age due to malnutrition. World Vision helps malnourished children reach a healthy weight. Staff members also train parents to prepare nutritious meals and cultivate kitchen gardens to diversify their food options.
Holy Spirit, move among health workers to inspire parents to learn new, sustainable ways to improve their children’s diets. Reassure struggling parents that they can help their children grow strong.
Pray for communities lacking access to clean water.
An estimated half of childhood malnutrition is associated with inadequate sanitation, insufficient hygiene, and repeated diarrhea or intestinal worm infections from unsafe drinking water, according to UNICEF. World Vision strives to reduce child disease and death by helping communities access clean water, improve sanitation, and practice basic hygiene.
Heavenly Father, children and their families cry out to You to ease their burden. As You blessed Isaac and his servants with the long-lasting well at Beersheba in Genesis 26:32-33, give communities access to clean water and healthy hygiene and sanitation practices.
Pray for nursing mothers.
About 20 percent of deaths among children younger than 5 could be avoided if mothers exclusively breastfed their children through 6 months of age and combined that with other types of food through age 2. World Vision trains and equips medical workers in places like Rutegama to monitor child health and help new mothers provide adequate nutrition for their children.
Lord, You created mothers with the ability to supply their newborns with all the nutrients they need in the first months of life. Help communities dispel myths or traditional practices that hinder healthy growth in young children. Also provide ample food for nursing mothers themselves.
Pray for economic opportunity for Liella’s family and others.
Often, children become malnourished after their family’s crops — their sole source of food or income — are destroyed by flood, conflict, pests, or drought. World Vision helps families in Burundi and dozens of other countries diversify crops, streamline access to markets, and establish savings groups. These methods ultimately help them earn more income, so their children can eat well and grow up healthy.
Abba Father, we submit to You the plight of millions of young children in this world. We acknowledge that we can do nothing apart from You. Empower governments by Your Spirit to be sensitive to the needs of the most vulnerable children. Help mothers and fathers earn enough income to provide for their children, even in lean times.