MAP International’s Journey to Honduras: Combating Malnutrition on Insightful Trip 

Children at school in Honduras, showing how MAP International stops malnutrition
Children at school in Honduras | MAP

In a world where access to essential healthcare remains a challenge for many, MAP International is dedicated to bridging the gap. In April 2024, our Programs Director, Brooke Allison, and Partnership Development & Disaster Relief Director, Kipp Branch, took a trip to Honduras. Their objective was to oversee the benefits of a malnutrition container filled with crucial medicine and supplies. This trip, conducted in partnership with Convoy of Hope, supports MAP’s aim of bringing much-needed relief to the vulnerable communities in Honduras. 

MAP and Convoy of Hope: Successful Partnership in Honduras 

Map of Honduras and Central America
Map of Honduras and Central America | Google Maps

On April 22, 2024, Brooke and Kipp set off on their four-day trip to Honduras. Their primary goals were to monitor the impact of a malnutrition container sent to Honduras — and visit Convoy of Hope’s country office and the associated healthcare facilities.  

This collaboration highlights the importance of partnerships in expanding the reach and impact of our efforts. Convoy of Hope’s established presence in Honduras, including community-based programs and a surgical hospital, provided a solid platform for this mission. 

Severe Malnutrition in Honduras — Especially for Children 

MAP International’s Malnutrition Program is designed to tackle the root causes and effects of malnutrition, particularly in vulnerable populations around the world. As of 2024, approximately 1.9 million people in Honduras are malnourished, representing 19% of the population, per World Population Review.  

Also, many of the malnourished are children. One in five children in the country exhibit signs of stunting, while 29% suffer from anemia, according to the World Food Program. These health issues are further worsened by the lack of clean water and the widespread occurrence of waterborne diseases. Additionally, chronic malnutrition in especially problematic in rural Honduras — at 48.5%.  

MAP’s Malnutrition Container with Lifesaving Medicine and Health Supplies 

Kipp Branch from MAP serving food at School Feeding Program in Honduras
Kipp Branch from MAP serving food at School Feeding Program | MAP

A cornerstone of MAP’s Malnutrition Program is a lifesaving shipment of medicine and health supplies. This malnutrition container, which was sent to Honduras in Fall 2023, includes prenatal vitamins, oral rehydration solution (ORS), deworming medicine, and pediatric antibiotics. These supplies address the multifaceted nature of malnutrition by preventing and treating conditions that lead to or exacerbate it. 

Prenatal Vitamins: Essential for the health of pregnant women and their developing babies, prenatal vitamins ensure that mothers have the necessary nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy. The WHO-recommended UNIMMAP-MMS formulation, which MAP distributes, has shown significant positive outcomes, including reduced risks of low birth weight, preterm birth, and stillbirth. 

Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS): Diarrhea is a leading cause of malnutrition and death in children under five. ORS, formulated based on WHO guidelines, effectively combats dehydration by replenishing vital fluids and electrolytes. This intervention can prevent up to 93% of diarrheal deaths. 

Deworming Medicine: Administering anti-parasitic medication twice a year greatly improves nutrient absorption in children, leading to significant weight gain and overall health improvements. Deworming is crucial in areas where soil-transmitted helminths are prevalent. 

Pediatric Antibiotics: Oral amoxicillin, recommended by WHO for severe acute malnutrition, has been proven to improve recovery and reduce mortality rates among malnourished children. This antibiotic is a critical component in managing severe cases of malnutrition. 

These supplies are critical in addressing the health needs of pregnant women, infants, and children in Honduras. The delivery of the container’s contents to various community sites underscored the multifaceted approach required to combat malnutrition. 

Visit to Convoy of Hope’s School Feeding Program  

One of the most heartfelt stops was at a school participating in Convoy of Hope’s Feeding Program. Located near a dump, this school is a lifeline for children who often work at the dump in the evenings. This includes the kids pictured below: Didier, an eight-year-old boy, and behind him, his seven-year-old sister, Gerelin.  

Boy and girl in Honduras school, showing malnutrition humanitarian relief from MAP International
Brother and sister at school in Honduras | MAP

For many of these children, the meal provided at the school is their sole source of quality nutrition. They work at the dump in the evenings and go to school during the day — and the meal they get at school is the only meal they eat each day.   

This visit starkly illustrated the harsh realities these children face and the vital role that nutrition programs play in their lives. Also, Brooke emphasized: 

“This visit was a strong example of how, as an organization, we can’t do it all. But through our partnership model, we can provide medicine to complementary programs to create a holistic approach to healthcare for the people in the community.” 

Empowering Women and Children 

Mother and child at Convoy of Hope center in Honduras
Mother and child at Convoy of Hope center in Honduras | MAP

Brooke and Kipp also attended community sessions focused on maternal and infant health. These sessions educate pregnant women and new mothers on nutrition and health practices. The provision of vitamins and other health supplies from MAP International ensures that these educational efforts translate into tangible health improvements. Brooke reiterated: 

“Again, we don’t have the capacity to do it all, but when we ensure medicine, vitamins, and other health needs are available, these education sessions have the ability to change lives and make a true impact.” 

Compassion in Action at Ruth Paz Hospital 

Ruth Paz Hospital in Honduras
Ruth Paz Hospital in Honduras | MAP

Another highlight of the trip was the visit to Ruth Paz Hospital, a facility that embodies compassion and excellence in healthcare. Initially established as a pediatric surgical center, the nonprofit hospital has expanded to include adult surgical care, responding to the growing needs of the community. 

During their visit, Brooke and Kipp were given a comprehensive tour of the facility. They met with surgeons, nurses, and administrative staff who showcased their daily operations and the high level of care provided to patients.  

Brooke and Kipp were impressed by the hospital’s commitment to treating all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Brooke said, “We were fortunate enough to visit a hospital that never turns a patient away due to a lack of financial ability to pay, which isn’t the case at public or private locations throughout the country.” 

The hospital staff’s dedication and pride in their work were palpable. One particularly memorable interaction was with a surgeon who had completed his training at Ruth Paz Hospital and, when able, returned to work at the nonprofit hospital full-time. 

It was also clear that the medicine and health supplies provided by MAP International are essential to Ruth Paz Hospital’s operations. “Hearing and seeing that their needs are exact areas that MAP can fill created a sense of urgency in how we can expand this partnership and build capacity,” said Brooke. 

Identifying Needs and Next Steps 

Woman checking on medicine at Ruth Paz Hospital
Woman checking on medicine at Ruth Paz Hospital | MAP

The visit to Honduras revealed significant healthcare needs, particularly the urgent requirement for more medicine. The nonprofit hospital relies heavily on the formulary of medicines provided by MAP International, which enables doctors to consistently prescribe effective treatments. Brooke and Kipp left with a better understanding of the gaps that need to be filled and the urgency of expanding MAP’s support. 

MAP International: Reducing Malnutrition in Honduras 

Brooke and Kipp’s trip to Honduras with MAP’s field partner Convoy of Hope is another vivid demonstration of the power of collaboration. The trip also shows the critical role that donated medicine plays in improving health outcomes, particularly with tackling malnutrition.  

As we look ahead, MAP International remains committed to reducing malnutrition in Honduras — and elsewhere around the world.  By identifying products in our inventory and seeking additional funding, we aim to meet the pressing needs of these communities. With Convoy of Hope and other partners, MAP is making strides towards a healthier, more hopeful future for the people of Honduras.