Many of the children that we rescue have extreme malnutrition when we first learn of their situations. Extreme childhood malnutrition is a very dangerous and delicate situation, and it must be handled with great care. Because of the level of attention that the children receive at Jonathan’s House for Orphans, my preference is to care for the children at Jonathan’s House with support from our medical clinic. I believe that the personal attention that the children receive from our staff and the stimulus that the activity of the orphanage provides results in an environment that fosters recovery. To date, we have never lost a child who arrived at Jonathan’s House with extreme malnutrition when we cared for them at our home. I hope that statement will always be accurate. Some of our children arrive in extremely delicate situations and the outcome of many of the first days just after their arrival seems uncertain.
How do we provide nutrition and calories to a severely malnourished child? PlumpyNut. Why? Because it works. PlumpyNut is a peanut based nutritional food which has been used around the world to fight malnutrition in children and adults. During the PlumpyNut phase, this is usually the only food that the children will receive. We have used it on numerous occasions with great success. It is readily available, it works quickly, the cost is low, and it has been proven to combat malnutrition for new arrivals in our own orphanage. Before long, we have to switch the child’s diet to regular foods or they will become overweight.
When a severely malnourished child begins to receive nutrients, diarrhea is often a problem. The situation must be approached with care, because a malnourished child does not have the water in his/her body to support diarrhea and it can be deadly. For this reason, food must be given in moderation and the intake of fluids must be monitored and encouraged.
We are very thankful for the opportunity to save lives in the Central African Republic and for the effectiveness of PlumpyNut. The combination of love and PlumpyNut has proven to be a lifesaver.