NYT: How Plumpy'Nut is saving lives

September 7, 2010

If you haven't already, read this in-depth story in the New York Times about Plumpy'nut, the revolutionary therapeutic food that pulls children back from the brink of severe malnutrition.

If you haven't already, read this in-depth story in the New York Times about Plumpy'nut, the revolutionary therapeutic food that pulls children back from the brink of severe malnutrition.

Adam Fifield is Deputy Director of Editorial & Creative Services at the U.S. Fund.

In 2008, while on a UNICEF field visit, I met a mother whose little boy, 13-month old Siyabonga, had been gravely ill. The symptoms had been deeply worrisome: vomiting, diarrhea and rapid weight loss. "At one point, I thought he was going to die," his mother said.

She had rushed him to a nearby UNICEF-supported therapeutic feeding center, where he had been diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition. Nurses had prescribed Plumpy'nut, a ready-to-use, high-energy peanut paste that is one of UNICEF's most effective weapons in the fight against malnutrition.

If you haven't already, read this in-depth story in the New York Times about Plumpy'nut, the revolutionary therapeutic food that pulls children back from the brink of severe malnutrition.

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UNICEF/ITAL2010-0003/Porcu

The article chronicles how Plumpy'nut was developed and is now used throughout the world. It's is an interesting look at an essential child survival tool, including some of the trickier questions that have arisen around intellectual property issues.

One incontrovertible fact -- Plumpy'nut and other ready-to-use therapeutic foods save malnourished children's lives. The paste is so effective because it requires no preparation, is easy to use without special instructions, and it can be given to malnourished children in their homes. And that's why UNICEF is the world's largest buyer of Plumpy'nut.

Because when I met Siyabonga, not long after he had been receiving regular sachets of Plumpy'Nut, he was a pudgy baby sitting restlessly on his mother's lap. Babbling and grabbing for anything in reach, he was as fidgety as many babies his age. For that, this mother was grateful.

You can buy a supply of ready-to-use-therapeutic food for delivery to a malnourished child through the U.S. Fund's Inspired Gifts.