Plumpy’Nut or how three weeks of treatment can transform a child from near death to survival

A line of mothers carrying their children are sitting in the waiting area at the Buyenzi Community Medical Center. A little girl, Afsa, 18 months old, smiles at the nurse who is measuring her mid upper arm circumference

Jean Gabriel Uwamahoro
A little girl, Afsa, 18 months old
UNICEF-Burundi/J.G Uwamahoro
09 March 2022

"When Afsa arrived at the community health center, her feet and cheeks were swollen and her hair was brittle and red," says the nurse at the center.

Afsa’s mother is worried about her daughter’s heath status

"Afsa did not like to play anymore, she was not active at all and rarely cried. I could put her on a mat while doing the housework. I was worried to find her in the same place, in the same position I left her, which was not the case prior to this illness. I decided to take her to CMC Buyenzi to find out what was going on," explains Afsa's mother, Angleberte.

After a medical consultation, the nurse diagnosted Afsa with severe acute malnutrition and admitted  for treatment.. Since Afsa has been on treatment, she has regained a lot of energy. "I appreciate the treatment with Plumpy’Nut because it is a food that does not require any preparation. It is ready-to-be used food. By its good taste, my daughter loves it and consumes it without any difficulty ", says Angleberte with a smile.

Afsa, 18 months old
UNICEF-Burundi/J.G Uwamahoro
Afsa, 18 months old with her Plumpy’Nut

Plumpy'Nut, the miracle paste...

Every Thursday, Angleberte comes to collect the weekly Plumpy'Nut sachets that are used as food for Afsa. She takes this opportunity to weigh her daughter and to receive nutrition counselling from the nurses of the center. She says that thanks to the Plumpy’Nut treatment, she does not need to keep her child in the hospital during treatment. "Using 3 sachets of Plumpy'nut as a ready-to-use therapeutic food for my daughter without giving her any other food, allows me to have more time to do other chores for my  family. " Angleberte said.

At the third week of treatment, Angleberte is happy to see her daughter playing with others again. The swelling in her feet and cheeks is slowly reducing. Afsa's mother says she can now easily recognize signs of malnutrition in children of her community and refer them  to the community health workers..

Another child enjoying the Plumpy Nut

"Thanks to USAID's support, treatment with this ready-to-use therapeutic food saved Afsa's life and the lives of about 200 children who are treated each year at the Buyenzi Community Medical Center. I also know that this program exists in  other health facilities throughout the country," stated  the nurse in the nutrition center.