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Helping Children Access Care for Severe Malnutrition

Good nutrition is the bedrock of child survival and development. Yet, nearly half of deaths of children under the age of five are attributed to malnutrition globally, and 17 million of those children suffer from the most life-threatening form of malnutrition, called severe acute malnutrition.

Malnutrition is a sustained lack of vital nutrients needed for growth and survival. If untreated, this can lead to physical stunting, impeded cognitive development, severe illness and death. Thankfully, relief organizations are working to put children first and help children get the nutrition they need.

A new treatment 

Treating severe acute malnutrition is easier than ever, thanks to a miracle product containing a specially-designed vitamin-rich, high-protein peanut paste called ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). RUTF is easy to ship and deliver; it doesn’t require refrigeration and stays fresh for up to two years. It can be delivered directly to communities where children can be treated, even by their own parents, eliminating long treks to hospitals.

Increasing our efforts

Ending severe acute malnutrition is complex as there are social and political challenges, but we’re in it for the long haul, working with partners on long-term solutions and prevention through delivering nutrition, improving water and sanitation, educating communities and planning for cyclic malnutrition crises and emergencies. While treatment is available, there’s a lack of funding, impeding children’s access to it.

South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia are all experiencing alarming levels of food insecurity.Fighting to get nutrition to those in need is as important as ever. We have the opportunity now to help children survive and thrive around the world, saving an entire generation.

SOURCE: UNICEF USA, [email protected]

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