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Preventing malnutrition with free distribution of supplementary food in Mauritania

© UNICEF/Mauritania/2010/Lezama
Zeinabou holds a box of Plumpy Doz, a ready-to-Use-Supplementary-Food that contains a mix of nutrients that help prevent malnutrition.

Nimlane, Mauritania, 12 October 2010 - Fatimetou, head nurse in Nimlane – a village in the region of Tagant, in the center of Mauritania – is visiting her neighbors on a mission.

Heartily welcomed by Zeynabou’s mother, Fatimetou is here to check on children that have received their first ration of Ready to Use Supplementary Food (RUSF) called Plumpy'Doz.

A first in Mauritania
It is the first time in Mauritania that a distribution of such supplementary food is being organized to prevent the malnutrition of young children. In this arid area, there is a high prevalence of acute malnutrition among children and the population faces real difficulties, especially during the lean season when the food reserves are low.

“Now from June to August, this is really the most difficult time for us as the families have difficulties to sufficiently feed their children. So any kind of additional nutritious food for our children is highly appreciated”, says the nurse.

Just two weeks ago, Zeynabou’s mother went to the health post to receive the first monthly ration of RUSF that UNICEF and its partners are distributing for children aged between 6 and 36 months. Back home, Zeynabou’s older sister feeds her 3 teaspoons of the product 3 times a day. 

The right mix of nutrients
The paste  contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that support the growth and development of young children. “She is really lucky” the mother explains to Fatimetou during her visit. “In the past Zeynabou was always sick and weak.” Now everything has changed. “Zeynabou is in good shape and has a much better appetite”.

RUSF will be distributed to all children aged between 6 and 36 months for three months to prevent them from slipping into malnutrition. Zeynabou’s mother conscientiously memorizes the dates of the two upcoming distributions.

As her day draws to a close, Fatimetou is very confident that thanks to this program, most of the children living in her village, as well as children in other targeted villages in the region of Tagant will not suffer malnutrition anymore.

Hence, she’s taking her mission very seriously and does her best to ensure that that the product is being correctly used by the families during the next three months.

Like Zeynabou, 7819 young children in the region of Tagant are receiving rations of supplementary food to help them have a healthier start in life.

By Fadila Hamidi



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