In Bangladesh, 600,000 children under the age of five suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). These toddlers are significantly underweight and are physically stunted from lack of breastfeeding or from diarrhea. If their desperate condition continues, these children may die or become mentally maimed.
Have you seen them? We have, too. Have you wanted to help? AOB’s Community Health Workers systematically travel from village to village. They have been trained to identify malnourished children and to determine appropriate food for them. They help through teaching and demonstrations. They instruct parents in mixing inexpensive, locally available, protein-rich cereal for them; the mix includes rice, lentils or chickpeas, milk powder, sugar, and soybean oil. The health workers show how to mix up the nutritious cereal, and they determine the correct dosage for each child. The cereal can help severely malnourished children recover fast. It’s no miracle, but it’s essential.
Simultaneously, in these past four years scientists at Bangladesh’s International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research have been developing a nutrient-rich cereal. Their goal has been ready-to-use therapeutic food. The resulting mix is similar to what our health workers have been demonstrating. It will soon be sold and transitioned into programs throughout the country.
Whether using ready-made or hand-ground therapeutic foods, AOB will continue to target child and maternal health.
-posted July, 2015