Combating Child Malnutrition

Ever heard of Plumpy’doz? Chances are you won’t find it at your local Ralphs or Albertsons.

It is a ready-to-use therapuetic food (RUTF) that UNICEF plans to introduce this month in Somalia, where malnutrition rates are nearly 20%.

3 teaspoons of the product (made from milk powder, sugar, peanut paste, oil, minerals, and vitamins) will be distributed to infants 3 times a day for 8 months.

The aim is to pro-actively prevent child malnutrition rather than re-actively treat it.

Plumpy’doz costs $0.17 per day or $1.17 per bottle.

Dehumanization

According to the head of UNICEF in Sudan Ted Chaiban, rebel groups, government-backed militia, and the Sudanese national army together employ 6,000 child soldiers. Some of the children have chosen to fight, while others have been forced to do so.

Chaiban believes that these children will become “dehumanized” as war “separates them from their emotions and from their normal growth in a way that is much more severe than an adult going through the same experience”.

Approximately 2.3 million children in Sudan have been affected by the Darfur conflict. 700,000 were born during the last five years, and thus, have lived their entire existence in a state of chaos, turmoil, and instability.

The US Congress recently passed a measure which would reduce military aid to countries whose governments employ child soldiers. Sudan has been named as one of several countries which would be impacted by such a restriction.