Food is a basic necessity of life. The statistics are grim: one in four children are stunted, approximately half of all deaths among children under age five are attributable to malnutrition and, in the developing world alone, 66 million children of primary school age go to school hungry.
What is severe acute malnutrition?
Severe acute malnutrition is the most extreme and visible form of malnutrition. Its face is a child – frail and skeletal – who requires urgent treatment to survive. It occurs as a result of a recent deficiency of protein, energy, minerals and vitamins leading to the loss of body fat and muscles tissues. It’s heartbreaking—especially in children.
Children with severe acute malnutrition have very low weight for their height and severe muscle wasting. They may also have nutritional oedema – characterized by swollen feet, face and limbs.
Currently, 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Now is the time to help them.
Preventing and treating severe acute malnutrition is critical to child survival and their long-term development.
Children with severe acute malnutrition need urgent life-saving treatment to survive.
Until relatively recently, these children were only treated in hospitals where they received therapeutic milk along with medical care; and many more were never reached at all. With the creation of ready-to-use therapeutic food -Plumpy Nut—a high-energy, micronutrient enhanced paste used to treat children under age five who are affected by severe acute malnutrition—treatment has changed dramatically.
A community-based approach to treating malnutrition means health workers are trained in early detection to recognize cases of severe acute malnutrition and provide Plumpy‘Nut and routine medical care. At the same time, health workers learn to recognize medical complications and refer those children to hospitals and health centres for further in-patient treatment.
What is Plumpy’Nut®?
- It’s a nutrient-rich peanut based ready-to-use therapeutic food, composed of sugar, oils, vitamins and minerals
- It has a two-year shelf life and doesn’t need to be mixed with water, cooked or refrigerated
- It allows for some children to be treated at home instead of hospitals, which are often not accessible to children living in remote areas
- Three packets a day for one week will help an undernourished child gain up to two pounds
- A complete course of treatment using Plumpy’Nut® takes between six and eight weeks and can transform a child from near death to survival