Every year, the Dr. Gerald J. Freedman Infant Malnutrition Intervention saves the lives of over 300 malnourished children under the age of 5 by providing emergency nutritional intervention.
The doctors at the Shravan Health Center noticed a crucial problem among their patients: severe malnutrition in infants and babies. This is a harrowing problem in the slums. According to the World Bank, the prevalence of malnourished children in India is among the highest in the world, and has dire consequences for the children. Malnourished children have more infectious diseases, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, experience stunted physical and mental development and have higher mortality rates than children who receive proper nourishment.
The Dr. Gerald J. Friedman Infant Malnutrition Intervention Program uses the universally acclaimed Integrated Child Development Program (ICDP) protocol to treat severely malnourished children. Through this program, which is advocated by WHO, the UN, and other emergency relief organizations, children undergo weight and height checks, upper arm circumference measurements and other physical and cognitive development measures, in order to diagnose the severity of their malnutrition. In addition, parents in the Malnutrition ICDP program are provided intensive nutritional counseling in order to help families emerge from dangerous cycles of malnutrition.
The women of the Masala Mamas group received special training on preparing the treatment and now provide the ICDP protocols for the babies in the program.
Thanks to the generous support of The Estelle Friedman Gervis Family Foundation, GPM launched the Dr. Gerald J. Friedman Infant Malnutrition Intervention Program to provide emergency nutritional intervention to save the lives of 300 malnourished children per year who are under the age of five. The program is named in memory of Dr. Gerald J. Friedman, a New York-based physician who practiced medicine for over 55 years and specialized in diabetes, cardiology and internal medicine. During World War II, Dr. Friedman served as a young army doctor in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific and was struck by how severe malnourishment affects the growth and development of children.