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A Miraculous Cure: Simple Yet Rewarding
The fight for an end to malnutrition is still an ongoing mission. With an increase in awareness, the question has now been turned to focus on the funding for new solutions. Many people around the world, especially in third world countries, are living in poverty and their children frequently suffer from malnutrition; however, this problem can now be solved with more funding for therapeutic foods like plumpy’nut that are proven to help children recover from malnutrition.
A simple problem as not getting enough food to eat or simply the wrong type of food, can lead to serious even life threatening consequences. At an early age, malnutrition can lead to both reduced physical and even mental development. According to SCN’s World Nutrition Situation 5th report, effects such as stunting affect more than 147 million pre-schoolers in developing countries, whereas iodine deficiencies is the leading cause of mental retardation and brain damage.
It is obvious that the effects of malnutrition are enormous, yet the problem is still rising. One of the leading causes of malnutrition in children however, results from malnutrition in the mother. Women make up approximately half of the world’s population, but they account for over 60 percent of the world’s hunger, according to Strengthening efforts to eradicate hunger, ECOSOC 2007. Because women do not attain the nutrients they need to stay healthy and produce the milk their children need, many children are also affected by malnutrition.
The root cause of the malnutrition in the world however always leads back to poverty. People in places like Ethiopia,
Niger, Indonesia, Pakistan, and India, can barely afford to buy food for themselves let alone formula for their children; which is usually useless anyways due to the lack of clean water in their villages.
There is however, a solution to all this madness, a product that many call a possible life saver. One Nobel Prize-winning relief group, “Doctors Without Borders,” has discovered a cheap and easy to make as well as easy to use cure to malnutrition. A simple little mixture known as plumpy’nut comes in ready-to-eat containers filled with the vitamin-enriched concoction, reports CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Plumpy’nut which is remarkably only made of simple ingredients like peanut butter, powdered milk, powdered sugar, and enriched with vitamins and minerals is cheap to make yet sufficient enough to help children on the brink of death come back to be as healthy as ever. Its distinctive sweet taste also keeps children wanting more.
Created by nutritionists, plumpy’nut does not require any type of refrigeration, water or, cooking to use, making it helpful in areas like the Niger and Ethiopia where a clean source of water is hard enough to come by. With this formula, mothers simply squeeze out the paste, or children can feed themselves. Either way, each serving is the equivalent of a glass of milk and a multivitamin.
One team of volunteers including Anderson Cooper spent a night in one of the villages in Niger only to find rivers of women flowing into their site waiting to receive tubs and packages of plumpy’nut for their children. According to Cooper, many walked for hours in the dark, along treacherous paths, avoiding scorpions, spiders and poisonous snakes.
Taking the time to make these dangerous journeys however must come with its rewards. According to Cooper’s report, in 2006 a remote village near the capital of Niger had the highest malnutrition rate in the country, 2 years later, thanks to the help of plumpy’nut, it has the lowest.
The great effects of plumpy’nut can even be seen by the mothers. Parents report that the children are doing better; their skin is brighter, their appetites are better, and they are even less sick. The success in Niger proves that fortified ready-to-eat products like plumpy’nut can save lives; the question now is how to make the product available to children around the world that could benefit from the product.
For just $1 for a daily dose of plumpy’nut, factories are beginning to open in African countries. “Doctors Without Borders” has already taken the initiative to ask for more of this type of therapeutic foods. Dr. Tectonidis from “Doctors Without Borders” even reports that the United States and European Union are willing to spend part of their food aid on funding these products if more companies will start making it.
Even a small proportion of the global food aid budget will have a huge impact in funding for these clearly beneficial types of food. It is really a small portion of money considering that only $13 billion would be the cost to satisfy the world’s sanitation and food requirements. The same amount of money the United States and European Union spends on perfume every year, according to Projects for Students by Students.
So why not start making a change now? The solution has been found and the awareness has spread. Resources are also not a problem. The only thing left is to start gathering companies that are willing to help in this cause. If that is a success then funding is said to come from the United States and European Union. The time for waiting is done; the time to act is now.