Photo credit: Aminu Abubakar/AFP/Getty Images
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is reporting live from Somalia with more on the disturbing hunger situation. "AC360º" is now at 8 and 10 ET weeknights on CNN.
It has a funny sounding name. So funny in fact, that you might be tempted to not take it seriously. It's called Plumpy’Nut.
The kids here in Somalia just call it Plumpy. If you have never heard of it, you probably have never truly been hungry or lived in a country where malnutrition is prevalent. It has been called a magic potion, as big a development as penicillin, and is widely credited with single-handedly lowering mortality rates from famine in Africa.
With Plumpy’nut, invented by pediatrician André Briend in 1996 and manufactured and marketed by France's Nutriset, the feedings were exponentially easier. Kids could take their feedings at home, the cost was decreased, and perhaps most importantly for little kids: it tasted good. Briend had, in fact, drawn his inspiration from another delicious, kid-friendly product with a pretty comical sounding name – Nutella.
According to the UN, a child dies every five seconds because of hunger – more than AIDS, TB and malaria combined. The condition of starvation is just as easy to get as it is tricky to treat. Provide a food too rich or high in saturated fats, and the child may not absorb it across their intestines. High calorie chocolate bars were thought to be a viable alternative, until they actually were tried in Eastern Africa, where they wilted and melted.
A paste: that was the solution. It would store easily and be rich in protein and energy. And, there started the creation of a revolution in nutrition.
Read Humanitarian agency accelerates efforts to fight hunger in Africa and visit Impact Your World and learn how you can help
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