Saturday, 20 September 2014

The more you know

This blog is all about what severe acute malnutrition is, why it occurs and what we do here at Serving His to break the cycle. 

We are equipped to handle 18 children along with a caregiver at any given time, although when needs are high we manage to find space for all those that the Lord sends!  We are blessed to have a well equipped ICU for our sicker patients. 

Here at Serving His we mainly see two types of malnutrition. 

Kwashiorkor is a form of malnutrition that occurs when there is not enough protein in the diet. It is a form of severe protein–energy malnutrition characterized by edema, irritability, anorexia, ulcerating dermatoses, and an enlarged liver with fatty infiltrates. Sufficient calorie intake, but with insufficient protein consumption, distinguishes it from marasmus. Kwashiorkor cases occur in areas of famine or poor food supply. Basically the child is getting food, just not proteinThe defining sign of kwashiorkor in a malnourished child is pitting edema (swelling of the ankles and feet).
This particular childs skin has begun to peel from a zinc deficiency due to his malnutrition. 

Marasmus is a form of severe malnutrition characterized by energy deficiency. You will see severe muscle wasting in a child with marasmus. A child with marasmus looks emaciated. Body weight is reduced to less than 60% of the normal (expected) body weight for the age. Marasmus occurrence increases prior to age 1, where as kwashiorkor occurrence increases after 18 months. It can be distinguished from kwashiorkor in that kwashiorkor is protein deficiency with adequate energy intake whereas marasmus is inadequate energy intake in ALL forms, including protein. Basically a child with marasmus is recieving little or no food at all. The prognosis is better than it is for kwashiorkor but half of severely malnourished children die due to unavailability of adequate treatment.

 Our goal is to “Break the cycle of malnutrition one life at a time.”  We do this through three programs: 

Inpatient Rehabilitation:  Children in life threatening stages of malnutrition are admitted, along with a caregiver, to our center where they receive necessary medical treatment, nutritional supplements and training for the caregiver. A childs stay can be anywhere from a a few weeks to a few months.

Outpatient Early Intervention Clinic:  Satellite clinics are set up in outlying communities where children in earlier stages of malnutrition that do not require medical intervention are seen every 2 weeks.  At each visit children are assessed, parents attend nutrition classes and food supplements are dispensed to be prepared at home.

Community Health & Nutrition Classes:  Families discharged from our Inpatient Program are required to give back to their communities by scheduling and promoting a class taught by SHC Staff covering Health, Hygiene, Nutrition and Discipleship.

WHY does this all occur you might ask? Is it because their parents are negligent? Are they orphaned? Is there something else wrong?

One of the main reasons we see for malnutrition here in Uganda is lack of EDUCATION. Most of them just have never been taught better. Thus, the reason all of our moms take our nutrition class. The other reason is most of the food grown locally is exported to other countries, not leaving enough for the families here.

There are also many myths about breastfeeding, such as if you become pregnant you have to stop breastfeeding your current child. Leaving older infants without the much needed nutrients of breast milk.

We very rarely receive orphaned children. Even when we do, they come with some type of caregiver. Families here take in their own many times.

Sometimes these children become malnourished due to the fact that they have something else wrong, such as a disability or other medical issues.


Our program is 100% FREE to the child and mother. All of it, medical care, food, clothing, discipleship, a place to sleep, and a life changing education in nutrition.

Every child, regardless of age, we receive is taken off all food because they are susceptible to re-feeding syndrome. Any child who has had negligible nutrient intake for more than 5 consecutive days is at risk of refeeding syndrome. Refeeding syndrome usually occurs within four days of starting to feed. Patients can develop fluid and electrolyte disorders, especially hypophosphatemia, along with neurologic, pulmonary, cardiac, neuromuscular, and hematologic complications. And that can become dangerous VERY quickly. If they are having a lot of edema we put them on a 72hr juice fast to cleanse their system.

Instead of food at first our children receive F-100 and F-75 therapeutic milk product designed to treat severe malnutritionF-75 is considered the "starter" formula, and F-100 the "catch-up" formula. The designations mean that the product contains respectively 75 and 100 kcals per 100 ml. Both are very high in energy, fat, and protein, and provide a large amount of nutrients. Ingredients include milk, food oil, and dextrin vitamin complexes. Most of our kiddos receive their milk every three hours. We weigh our children every day, and their weight is what decides the ml's of milk they get per feed.
Once a child is no longer malnourished (usually 4-6 weeks) we begin them back on food. Usually a few days to a week later they are sent home fat and happy. From then we check up on them for weeks and months to come

93% of our kiddos go home happy and healthy!

To learn more visit

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The moment you've been waiting for

Two weeks ago we posted on our Facebook and Instagram that we received a shipping container. Over the past year the Lord has blessed us with several donations from many generous people. Even the shipping container was donated to be used!

Drum roll please......

We received a beautiful incubator!

Possible functions of a neonatal incubators are:

Two incredible infant warmers. Radiant warmers are a body warming device to provide heat to the body. This device helps to maintain the body temperature of the baby and limit the metabolism rate. Heat has a tendency to flow in the heat gradient direction that is from high temperature to low temperature. The heat loss in some sick babies is rapid; hence body warmers provide an artificial support to keep the body temperature constant. In certain cases, our sickest babies will be kept on radiant warmer for couple of hours to ensure the child is stabilized. 

And a 1000 gallon water tank to help supply our water when its running low!

We also received many power tools as well!

Thank you to every person who donated and helped make this happen. We are so wonderfully blessed. We cannot wait to share pictures of everything in use!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Little one, the world suffers with you

As we three house managers, after serving dinner for the moms and staff, sat down to dinner ourselves tonight, we began to discuss a particularly sad case that has befallen us. His story is many months in the making and all that much more difficult to bring to a close because of that. Caleb is 7 months old and has been away from home and stuck in hospital beds for the last 4 of those but this morning he will be going home. Being born with a cleft palette anywhere is difficult, in a remote village in Africa to young parents it could have been a death sentence if not for Katreena and Steve of Life Centers Ministries who graciously took Caleb and his family to a facility that could provide the care that he needed, Serving His Children. Many of our readers may know Caleb's story up until now and I'm sure your prayer for him has been heard and done great work in his life. I can attest first hand to the love and dedication of Caleb's mother, she strives endlessly to be everything she can for Caleb. Since coming into our program she has made an effort to learn all the necessary aspects of his care, from his basic nutrition to his difficult medical needs. You see I write tonight not of Caleb but of his family and all the family's interrupted by malnutrition. Caleb's parents are barely more than teenagers and, in struggling to keep their second child from the same fate as their first, have been apart for the extent of his treatment. Having already experienced the worst parenthood has to offer, the sacrifice they are making seems small but not every case is so extreme. Many of our children stay for weeks or sometimes only days but all are accompanied by a family member which means not only is this family robbed of precious time with this growing child but, more often than not, a mother (and wife) as well. Every family is different, for some, mom being gone may be only a minor inconvenience, older children, aunts, or jjajjas (grandmothers) may be able to temporarily fill that roll. Other family groups may be more drastically impacted, forcing father's to stay home from work or children, sometimes as young as 8, to step into a caregiver role while their sibling receives much needed rehabilitation. As these families struggle through a time of hardship, here their mother is being prepared to bring home a gift of potentially endless giving. Armed with the knowledge of nutrition, health and farming that we provide, these mom's return to families that miss them with healthy babies and the tools to prevent malnutrition in their family and if they feel like sharing, in their entire village. This struggle is difficult but necessary; we could simply provide nutrient rich food for a family and never inflict this separation on them but we would be failing in our mission to break the cycle of malnutrition. What I realized tonight was that malnutrition effects so much more than just the child suffering, the devastation can reach far into the village, further than even just the family of the child. If we do our jobs here well, hopefully one day we will put ourselves out of a job because malnutrition is 100% preventable and the education we provide has the power to change the world.

Sunday, 24 August 2014


Serving His Children fights malnutrition through not only rehabilitation but education and our dedication to education does not stop at our front door. Along with home visits we also have a booming outpatient program, this particular program is in Butaleja, a small village a few hours north east of Jinja.

From across the street to miles away our program draws a sizable crowd of woman all with babies strapped to their backs in a koala like fashion that they seem more than comfortable with. 

Opening with prayer and a sermon we expose people to the truth of the Lord that they may never have heard anywhere else. Couple that with a nutrition class that details exactly why malnutrition happens and how to prevent it, and lives can change in a single afternoon. 

Though we pray that our visitors all come to us healthy, it is often not the case. Everyone that comes receives a bag of food, easy to prepare and loaded with nutrients for their growing babies. Those worse for the wear will receive medicine, prescribed by one of our on staff doctors to better help their rise back to health. 

Finally there are those that need admittance, children in need of the care that only a dedicated medical facility can provide. Pending the guardians approvals, child and guardian are brought home with us and hopefully make a strong recovery and leave us with not only an education but an understanding of the love the Lord has for them.

Starting as a feeding program that blossomed into a registered medical facility and now sending feeding programs out to more remote locations has brought us full circle. As we continue to receive support we will continue to grow our efforts always in the way the Lord best sees fit. Please bless us with your prayers for our patients and our future endeavors as we continue to make great strides in the fight against malnutrition. 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Breaking the silence!

We are back on social media! Thank you to all of our patient supporters who have been waiting for us to be more diligent with our posting. 2014 has brought many exciting things for us here at Serving His. The Lord has provided many opportunities to help us grow and expand.

We are currently looking at pieces of land to build a brand new center on! Once we find the one God has for us, we will bring you all up to date. We are hoping for several acres. A place for a new clinic, director housing, volunteer housing and possibly even a place to farm. We know that the Lord has a special place for us out there waiting. Renee is always out looking and we are all praying for that special place!

This summer we reached our all time high with 39 patients! Although it was busy God always provided. On staff here we have a full time doctor and 3 part time docs. We also have 1-2 nurses here 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The rest of our staff is made up of social workers, nutritionists and also household workers who make the meals and help keep our environment clean. We even have a few men who work on the compound to keep things running properly outdoors.

Twice a month we travel to Butaleja district which is about 2 hours away. We are currently doing an outpatient program there. You can learn more about that in our next blog.

Besides our Ugandan staff we have a few American staff living in Uganda as well. Andrea is the community out reach coordinator, she heads up lots of projects out in the field as well as much of our outpatient program. Jonathan is with us until May and is working with pastors in the villages which our children come from to help build a network and find good home churches for our moms when they return. Renee is always busy directing the center and being a mom, but she is the glue that holds us together, and we thank God everyday for her vision here. She sends her greetings and is so happy that you all have been keeping up with our social media.

Our current House Manager volunteers are  Madie, Nathan and Chelsea. Although they are a team and carry the work load together, they each have their own little projects they love to work on. Madie will be doing much of the before and after shots of our kiddos, she has an eye for photography, but you can always find her doing town runs as well or helping with other random projects. Nathan is always taking our children to labs and Xrays. 90% of the time he is the one posting on our Instagram. He loves social media outreach. Chelsea loves to keep up on the needs of our clinic, she is constantly making lists of things we need and making town runs. She also enjoys updating our social media sites as well.  We are so excited for their joyful hearts and to have them with us for this season!

Another project we are working on is beading! We have Briana here from America working with some Ugandan women on hand crafting necklaces and bracelets. We cannot wait to share our finished products with you. They are already so beautiful. Briana is doing a wonderful job letting the Lord lead this project. She is a huge blessing to us!

Tomorrow we are going as a team to donate blood! Many of our children here require blood transfusions. Seeing how Uganda is always in short supply of blood, we are happy to give back when we can!

Thank you all for following us on this journey! We will be doing our best to keep you all updated and in the loop on life around here! Please follow us on our newer Instagram @servinghis and also on facebook. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing with you.

God Bless!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

We at Serving His Children as so, so thankful for each one of you who made our 2013 operations possible!! We saw God move in unbelievable ways and we couldn't have done it without you! Here is just a little view of what went on here, and what YOU were a part of this past year!


We are honored and humbled to be able to be a part of God's kingdom work here in Uganda. We are ready and excited for another year and hope you will join us on the journey once again...

Happy New Year!!

Monday, 21 October 2013


Here at Serving His Children, one of the things we really enjoy is making homemade bread 2-3 times a week. Our moms and staff always love a good piece of fresh bread for breakfast! Since wheat flour is not readily available here, we add additional ingredients to make our bread a little extra nutritious. Our recipe is simple and easy to make. Give it a try and home! It makes great sandwich bread, toasted garlic bread or even just fresh bread with a little Chai in the mornings.

SHC House Bread:

3 Cups water (luke warm, but not so hot as to kill the yeast)
2 Tablespoons yeast

1/4 Cup sugar
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon sunseed oil 
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Cup Soya Flour
7-8 Cups Flour

Makes 3 loaves

Is a large bowel (we use a big plastic container) add water, yeast and sugar. Stir to combine. Let the yeast sit until slightly risen (about 2-3 mins). Add eggs, and salt to bowl and stir well. Slowly add flour, mixing well, until the dough starts to form a nice smooth ball. Dough should no longer be sticky, but not so dry that it won’t stick to itself. Kneed for 5-10 minutes.

Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until at least double. Once risen, punch the dough down, and lay out on a well floured surface. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Kneed each piece of dough with a little flour until it’s smooth and the outside of loaf form is dry. Place each loaf into individual pans and let rise again for 15-25 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and take out of loaf pan. Let cool on the counter or cooling racks before storing in an airtight container. ENJOY!

*Note* This recipe can be turned into delicious Cinnamon Sugar bread (or Cinnamon Rolls).

Make your dough as directed above and let rise, punch it down, and lay out on a well floured surface. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each part out into a large 1 inch thick piece. Shape doesn’t really matter. Cover in soft butter and then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar across the butter layer. Roll up the dough and fold the ends down until it fits into a standard loaf pan. Bake at 400 for 20 - 25 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven/loaf pan and let cool on cooling racks before storing in an airtight container. Can be served immediately.