One of the greatest aspects of Plumpy’nut is that it empowers mothers and fathers to nurse their child back to health at home. Before the introduction of Plumpy’nut, if a child was suffering from malnutrition, parents would have to travel miles to a therapeutic feeding center (TFC). While TFCs provide essential, emergency care, they are often expensive to operate as they rely on quality infrastructure, staff, and extensive financial support. Furthermore, the closest TFC may be a several-days journey, meaning that a mother or father will have to leave their other children and responsibilities at home for up to a month while they stay in a TFC with their malnourished child. While TFCs are still necessary to provide treatment for children who experience malnutrition with complications, Plumpy’nut has shifted care from a TFC to home.
Rather than using a TFC model, Plumpy’nut relies on a community-based therapeutic care (CTC) system. CTC is a network of local health extension workers, either paid staff or volunteers, who visit rural households to identify cases of malnutrition. If a case is detected, the child’s parents are encouraged to visit the closest outpatient medical facility where they can receive a supply of Plumpy’nut. Depending on the severity of the child’s malnutrition, a mother or father can feed the child 1-2 packets a day at home.
CTC relies on community leaders to foster local support in each village because if a community embraces CTC, it will be better prepared to deal with future malnutrition crises. Not only does CTC empower families and communities, it also has improved early detection of malnutrition.
Concern Worldwide, recipient of all Walk for Plumpy’nut proceeds, has been recognized as a world leader in implementation of CTCs. For more information, check out this earlier post on Plumpy’nut Press or consider donating to Concern Worldwide!