"The situation was very bad ... If these children did not get immediate help, they would have died. We are thankful and appreciate the assistance that came through to help the children. Although there is need of continuous support so that these children do not get sick again." Aden Mahdi, Program Manager for SAACID.
As mainstream media updates from the Horn of Africa become more scarce, I wanted to share with you a new UNICEF video (see link below) about the situation in Somalia. It shows how Plumpy'Nut is still playing a vital role in saving the lives of children in this poor and struggling country - and how Plumpy'Nut is part of a larger solution to reduce childhood malnutrition. At the community health center, children receive Plumpy'Nut, vaccinations, antibiotics, and mothers are educated about breastfeeding and keeping a healthy home. This integrated approach is the key to lowering childhood malnutrition rates.
The video also highlights that last year during the height of the famine crisis, 30% of children in Somalia were severely malnourished, in danger of losing their lives. Now, that percentage has dropped by half to 16%. This is great progress, but that is still a very high number as compared to global standards. And, as we can all imagine, behind that percentage number, there remain thousands of children with infinite promise who need Plumpy'Nut to survive.
When I walk around our warehouse in Providence, Rhode Island, I do not see boxes of Plumpy'Nut stacked on pallets ready for shipment, but the possibility of miracles and chances at life waiting to happen. It is awe-inspiring and humbling all at once.
Your generosity to this project has inspired all of us at Edesia, which is why I wanted to also take this moment to thank you again for your continued support of our work.
According to the latest update from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the lean season is almost over for most of the Horn of Africa. There are however a few areas in Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia still facing emergency.
Even when the crops are harvested, after the lean season, the troubles are far from over for this vulnerable region. Did you know that post-harvest losses due to poor storage facilities continue to be one of the major factors contributing to food and nutrition insecurity? According to this report, "losses amounting from poor storage and handling often reach as high as 70 percent."
The FAO is now training artisans in eastern Kenya in the fabrication of airtight metal silos to prevent these losses. Smart, common-sense initiatives like this one could make a significant difference to the food and nutrition security of this region over the longterm. In the meantime, malnutrition rates will continue to be high, especially in children, and especially when a low supply of nutritious food is only available at high prices.
In the last few months, from our factory in Providence, Rhode Island, we have shipped thousands of boxes of Plumpy'Nut to the Horn of Africa in order to help meet the nutritional needs of the many thousands of children needlessly suffering from severe acute malnutrition. We could not have shipped as many boxes to this region without your ongoing support.
From all of us at Edesia, we wanted to take this moment to sincerely thank you.
In April, I had the opportunity to attend a nutrition workshop in Ethiopia, in the heart of the Horn of Africa. It was organized by Nutriset, the inventor of Plumpy'Nut. As part of the experiential learning experience, a group of us visited a maternal/child health clinic in Addis Ababa. It was an opportunity for us to see how Plumpy'Nut is integrated into the community health programs.
The group first visited an exam room where children get checked for signs of severe acute malnutrition. While we were there, a little patient arrived, holding the hand of her mother: a two-year-old girl named Bethlehem. This energetic little girl with short hair and big, sweet eyes was wearing a jumper dress with bright chartreuse green tights and ruby red shoes.
We watched the doctor measure Bethlehem's weight-to-height ratio and the circumference of her mid-upper arm. The values were noted in her medical history. The doctor showed me in the large resister how after eight weeks of Plumpy’Nut, Bethlehem had successfully climbed out of danger into the normal range for growth. She would only need one more prescription of Plumpy’Nut—another 14-day supply. Everyone in the room was smiling. Bethlehem’s mother said, in her native Amharic, that she couldn't believe how much her daughter loved eating Plumpy’Nut.
Once outside in the clinic’s courtyard, I watched Bethlehem playing around her mother’s skirt, while they waited in line to have the Plumpy'Nut prescription filled by the clinic's pharmacists. Since I did not have my camera with me, I could not take photos of Bethlehem. Instead, I did my best to memorize the bounce in her step. I could barely take my eyes off the playful movement of her ruby red shoes. I wondered where those feet would carry her in life, now that the community health workers and Plumpy’Nut had made her healthy again.
Thanks to you, our GlobalGiving project "Provide Lifesaving Plumpy'nut in Horn of Africa" has surpassed the $250,000 fundraising mark. Everyone at Edesia is so very grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support for the children in the Horn of Africa needlessly suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
You helped us to produce and send nearly 7.4 million sachets of Plumpy'nut to the Horn of Africa, enough to fully treat some 50,000 children with severe acute malnutrition over a period of seven weeks. This could not have happened without you.
Today we hope that you will also feel inspired to support our efforts to raise funds to "Prevent Malnutrition in the Sahel region of Africa." This region, covering Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania, is where an estimated 14 million human lives are currently under threat, because of severe drought, poor harvests, and rising food prices - made worse by regional conflict.
Humanitarian aid organizations are taking action before it's too late to save lives in the Sahel. They will need robust stocks of Ready-to-Use Foods on hand, such as Plumpy'nut and Plumpy'Sup, to treat cases of severe and moderate acute malnutrition in young children. These sachets - densely packed with our nutrient-rich peanut-pastes - are a great source of hope for mothers and community health systems, because they transform babies from skin and bones to plumpy and healthy.
We appreciate your incredible support for our project, "Provide Lifesaving Plumpy'nut in the Horn of Africa." We hope you will now consider clicking on the links below to learn more about the crisis in the Sahel. With your help, the nearly one million children who are struggling to survive in this region of our world will make it to a better tomorrow.
Thank you again and kindest regards from all of us at Edesia.
Tonight at 10 PM ET, you may be interested to tune in as ABC wraps up their 2011 coverage of the world's most pressing health issues in “Making Life: A Risky Proposition,” a 20/20 Special with Diane Sawyer.
The ABC producers alerted us today that the special will include a follow-up segment on Edesia's project in the Horn of Africa that provided relief for famine victims - to which you have contributed so generously.
From all of us at the Edesia factory in Providence, Rhode Island, we extend our gratitude and appreciation to you. Your compassion and caring for the starving children in the Horn of Africa inspires us every day.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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