The Double Standard

In their “Starved for Attention” campaign, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)  writes, “Most current food aid programs for developing countries rely almost exclusively on the fortified cereal blend of corn and soy that may relieve a young child’s hunger, but does not provide proper nourishment. International donors must end this double standard. They should only support programs that respect the minimal nutritional needs of infants and young children, and work with countries most affected by the crisis to put access to nutrient-rich foods at the center of their efforts to tackle childhood malnutrition.”

Plumpy’nut is much more than a fortified cereal blend of corn and soy.  As written earlier in this blog, (see “The Power of Plumpy’nut” entry), Plumpy’nut is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, protein, and calories.  By funding therapeutic feeding programs that provide Plumpy’nut, international donors are supporting children with far more substantive meals than fortified cereals or formulas.

MSF uses Plumpy’nut because of its powerful nutritional properties (peanuts are rich in protein and vitamin E, an antioxidant), high caloric content, and easy to digest mono-unsaturated fats.

Doctors without Borders aid worker

Hilinki, a child fed Plumpy’nut by MSF, gained one pound in just two days (10 lb to 11 lb)!  Compared to previous powdered milk formulas and other food aids, this is amazing progress.  One MSF staffer claimed that Plumpy’nut has been the only treatment to bring immediate results to starving children.  Furthermore, in the past it was expected that children would relapse and return to feeding centers even after it was believed their malnutrition was treated.  In MSF’s experience, this has not been the case with children who have been fed Plumpy’nut. Johanne Sekkenes, head of MSF in Niger, claims, “This means we are getting something right.”

If you want to support MSF’s work and treat malnourished children with Plumpy’nut, follow this link: http://www.msf.org/msfinternational/donations/

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