Friday, August 8, 2008


Every year, 5 million children die worldwide from malnutrition. That's one child every six seconds. Now, the relief group Doctors Without Borders says it has something that can save millions of these children. It's called "Plumpy'nut" a ready to eat and cheap to produce food that might be the most important advance ever in the fight against malnutrition. Anderson Cooper saw the benefits of plumpy'nut firsthand in the African nation of Niger.

Plumpy'nut is made of peanut butter, powdered milk and powdered sugar, enriched with vitamins and minerals. It doesn't need to be refrigerated, mixed with water or cooked.

Plumpy'nut was developed in the late 1990's by Andre Briend, a French specialist in pediatric nutrition.

Plumpy'nut, which comes in a silvery foil package the size of two grasping baby-size hands, is 500 calories of fortified peanut butter, a beige paste about as thick as mashed potatoes and stuffed with milk, vitamins and minerals.

Since the packets came into the hands of relief organizations during the Darfur crisis in Sudan, they have been revolutionizing emergency care for severely malnourished children who are old enough to take solid food by taking care out of crowded field hospitals and straight into mothers' homes.

The prescription given mothers here is simple: Give one baby two packets of Plumpy'nut each day. Watch him wolf them down. Wait for him to grow. Which he will, almost immediately: By eating Plumpy'nut, badly malnourished babies can each week gain one to two pounds, or roughly 454 grams to 907 grams



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