How We Bring Children Back from the Brink
Hunger Imagine a child who is too weak to move and far too small for her age, with limbs as thin as sticks. This is what severe malnutrition looks like.
Food deprivation is a tragic consequence of poverty, natural disaster and war. Malnutrition can leave children more susceptible to disease, stunted physically and developmentally impaired for life. Acute cases can be fatal.
The facts of life
Every year, malnutrition is a factor in the deaths of more than 3 million children under the age of five — nearly half of all deaths from preventable causes.
"Every year, malnutrition is a factor in the deaths of more than 3 million children under the age of five — nearly half of all deaths from preventable causes."
So we fight it. Organizations such as UNICEF have managed to bring millions of dangerously malnourished children back from the brink. Our most powerful tool: a protein-rich peanut paste packed with vitamins and minerals.
Called Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), it can help a child gain as many as two pounds in one week. It is easy to dispense — you squeeze it straight out of a packet — and it costs only about a dollar a day.
A few years ago, UNICEF was able to convince more companies to start producing this life-saving miracle paste, driving prices down and making it more readily available where it is needed most.
In West and Central Africa, for example, UNICEF and its partners treated more than 800,000 children for severe malnutrition after a devastating food crisis hit in 2012. And RUTF is a key part of aid efforts in South Sudan, where a million children are now malnourished.
Malnutrition is a persistent, global problem and we must continue to do whatever it takes to treat it. I personally urge you to find a way to get involved and help give the world’s most vulnerable children a chance.