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An innovative approach to prevent child malnutrition in Somalia

Using Plumpy’Doz, the latest generation of ready-to-use food

NAIROBI, 31 December 2008 – UNICEF has introduced an emergency food supplement to prevent malnutrition in over 100,000 of the most vulnerable children in Somalia. 

‘Plumpy’Doz’, is the latest generation of nutritious, safe, convenient, and ready-to-use food designed to satisfy the nutritional needs of children aged six to 36 months and supplement food distributions by partners such as the World Food Programme (WFP) as well as other home food sources.

Three teaspoons of Plumpy’Doz three times a day provides each young child with additional energy, including fats, high-quality protein and all the essential minerals and vitamins required to ensure growth and a healthy immune system.

Plumpy’Doz is packaged in 325g (11 ozs) plastic containers, enough for a weekly ration for a child. Made of vegetable fat, peanut paste, sugar, milk powder and added nutrients, Plumpy’Doz is being distributed to children through health facilities, mobile health teams and where possible, through special Child Health Days, a joint WHO and UNICEF programme to accelerate young child survival in Somalia where access is severely limited dure to ongoing conflict. Once registered, children will receive this supplement for a period of eight months.

On 18 December, UNICEF and local health authorities provided Plumpy’Doz to over 9,000 children living in poor urban areas and camps for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Bosasso, northeast Somalia where the highest rate of malnutrition ever in Somalia was recorded.

As of 31 December, Plumpy’Doz is also being introduced to children in central and southern Somalia, where 75 per cent of the targeted child population is located.  To date, UNICEF and partners have reached over 10,000 children from six to 36 months in the Middle and Lower Shabelles. The next distribution will aim to reach over 40,000 children in the Afgoye IDP corridor, home to the most densely populated IDP camp in the world and critical malnutrition rates compounded by limited humanitarian access. By mid-January over 30,000 additional children in central and southern Somalia, including in Jowhar and Hiran, will be reached with the help of partners.

The national average prevalence of acute malnutrition in Somalia is 18.6 per cent - well above the 15 per cent emergency threshold which signifies a very critical situation.

“This is the first time that Plumpy’Doz will be distributed on such a large scale. UNICEF is working with partners to take proactive action to not only treat but prevent malnutrition," said Christian Balslev-Olesen, said UNICEF Somalia Representative. “By adopting this new approach, we aim to reach children before they become malnourished.”

This will complement efforts to advocate for exclusive and continued breastfeeding for the first six months and quality complementary foods well into the child's second and third year of life.

“In the face of Somalia’s complex humanitarian situation, using Plumpy’Doz is an innovative way to assist a population at risk and at the same time address the nutrition situation where one in six children is acutely malnourished at any point in time,” he continued.

UNICEF will continue optimizing the use of Plumpy’Doz to reach nutritionally vulnerable children in high-risk areas as well other areas where nutritional needs arise.

About Plumpy’Doz
Plumpy'Doz, produced by the French company, Nutriset, is similar to Plumpy'Nut®, a ready-to-use therapeutic food, and is one of the products in UNICEF’s supplies used to treat and prevent malnutrition.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information contact: 

Gina Gugliotta, Information Management Assistant, UNICEF Somalia, +254 713 653 422, ggugliotta@unicef.org




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