I recently came across an article (“The wonders of Plumpy’nut” in the November 5th-11th issue of The Economist) about a new product that will greatly improve the situation of malnourished children in Africa. Plumpy’nut is a peanut paste fortified with vitamins, minerals, and powdered milk, and it contains 1,000 calories. Children or babies who eat Plumpy’nut just once a day can gain about 2.2 pounds a week. It has a soft consistency that even toothless babies can eat, and its peanut flavor is very familiar. In addition to nourishment, it also has many other positive aspects that highlight its role in hunger prevention.
First, it is very inexpensive. It only costs about $20 to provide a child with Plumpy’nut, which is one tenth of what it would normally cost to treat malnutrition in an African hospital. It also changes how mothers are able to care for their children. They can give their children Plumpy’nut in their own home, which is much easier than traveling to a hospital. It also allows mothers to take care of all of their children instead of spending all their time at the hospital with one sick child. Lastly, the ability for these patients to be treated in their homes will free up space in crowded hospitals.
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