Sunday, June 22, 2008

Doctors Without Borders and Plumpy'nut

Photo by Julie Pudlowski, International Medical Corps

Millions of children worldwide die preventable deaths each year because their growing bodies aren’t getting the nutrition that they need.

In Niger, for example, the United Nations reports that 150,000 children under five years old are severely malnourished.

Their mothers are unable to produce enough breast milk, due to poor nutrition. Families cannot afford to buy milk and have no way to store milk, due to lack of refrigeration. Powered milk is useless without clean water.

According to Dr. Milton Tectonidis, the chief nutritionist for Doctors Without Borders, "If you feed (children) well until they're two or three years old, it's won. They're healthy, they can get a healthy life. If you miss that window, it's finished."

So what’s the solution? 60 Minutes reports that Plumpy’nut has produced rapid growth in severely malnourished children.

Plumpy’nut is made of peanut butter and powered milk, and enriched with vitamins and minerals. Each serving is the equivalent of a glass of milk and a multivitamin.

Top 10 Reasons To Use Plumpy’nut to Address Child Malnutrition:
1.) Plumpy'nut is a ready-to-use therapeutic food, requiring no refrigeration or preparation.

2.) It is stored in sealed packets to avoid bacterial contamination, and has a two-year shelf life when unopened.

3.) Families are able to take a week's ration home and return the following week for a weight check.

4.) The alternative is inpatient care in overcrowded centers, which further risks malnourished children's compromised immune systems.

5.) The sweet taste of Plumpy'nut appeals to children, even children who have become anorexic and "lost their appetite" due to vitamin deficiencies.

6.) Peanuts are a good source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps to convert food into energy -- and peanut allergies are rare in underdeveloped countries.

7.) The high calorie content makes it possible for children to receive a sufficient amount of energy, despite their shrunken stomachs.

8.) Results are generally seen within two to four weeks.

9.) Plumpy'nut is inexpensive to produce and deliver; a daily dose costs only $1

10.) If more countries are willing to spend part of their food aid on Plumpy'nut, more companies will start making it.

To Learn More About How You Can Help: Please visit:
International Medical Corps
Project Peanut Butter

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I first heard about this on mother's day, when UNICEF sent me a thing where you could buy things that they get for kids. I thought it was really neat. Kind of like a super-power-jumbo packed granola bar. Thanks for posting!!!
Check out UNICEF TV on youtube. There's something there about plumpy nut, and many, many more things as well.
You should blog more, too

I love your insights and enthusiasm.

I will blog more when I can... Right now, my time is captured by other things...

In addition to my full-time job, I have prepared and presented at four statewide and four national foster care conferences this year...
Hi Lisa! James and I have seen the important effects of Plumpy Nut in Cambodia, where there is a lot of malnutrition as well. Medecins Sans Frontieres/ Doctors without Borders uses Plumpy Nut with TB/HIV patients who are malnourished to get then back to a fighting weight. It seems to make the difference for a lot of people.
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