Lactose Intolerant Palestinian Babies get Special Milk Formula

March 12, 2012 ANERA
Health, In-Kind Medical and Relief, Mother and Child, West Bank
Anas, a Palestinian Mother from the West Bank, and her twins

For months, Sahar and Anas Abu Ayyash were consumed with worry over the health and well-being of their premature twin boys. Basel and Yamen were born three months early with multiple health problems, including paralysis and brain fluid leakage. During their first months, the babies also suffered continuous stomach aches and bloating, which have kept their already sleepless parents anxious and worried.

Sahar and Anas live in the small town of Beit Ummar in Hebron district. The twins’ father is a carpenter with a hereditary hearing disability. His wife has a degree in banking but decided to stay home to care for the children. They have found themselves facing a huge financial burden taking care of the twins, along with their two older children.

Dr. Mahmoud Breigeeth, the family doctor, manages the local Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) clinic. He recommended the lactose-free Isomil formula for the babies to ease their stomach problems.

13,320 cans of this special milk formula were delivered to mothers with lactose intolerant newborns across the west bank.

AmeriCares donated the supply and ANERA is distributing the shipment of 13,320 cans of Isomil across the West Bank through PMRS clinics and outreach programs. The delivery of Isomil ensures that more than 200 children will receive a regular supply for six months.

Dr. Breigeeth is relieved to see the results Isomil has had for the Abu Ayyash twins. “The babies responded almost immediately to this new formula. Since day one they have hardly any bloating or discomfort in their stomachs.” Isomil is an easy to digest soy-based formula for infants from 0-12 months.

The family’s income is limited, so buying a special formula for their babies is extremely costly. “The formula not only helped our twins, but also has helped cut our daily expenses, since it is distributed free of charge to families in need,” Sahar said. “Between MRIs, tests, doctor visits and more, we have been facing intense anxiety and financial strain.”

Dr. Breigeeth explained that all donated items adhere to strict international health standards. “We distribute the formula to all of our West Bank centers including Qalqilia, Bethlehem and Hebron, always giving priority to the neediest families.”

“Before giving my babies Isomil, I made sure to read everything I could find out about it on the Internet and what other mothers had said about it. I was really reassured when my babies stopped having tummy aches,” Sahar said, sighing with obvious relief to see the twins feeling better, thanks to the formula.

In June of 2011, ANERA distributed 15,391 cans of Isomil, also donated by AmeriCares, to four remote clinics and hospitals in marginalized areas of Gaza.

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