YAKAWLANG, BAMIYAN PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN - NOVEMBER 16, 2003. The MSf team prepare to leave the compound in Yakawlang to drive to the Dagah clinic, an hour drive away. MSf has been operating in Afghanistan for over 20 years. The main challenge to provide healthcare in the remote part of the country is isolation and security.
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Like most tales of great invention, the story of Plumpy’nut begins with a eureka moment, in this case involving a French doctor and a jar of Nutella, and proceeds through the stages of rejection, acceptance, evangelization and mass production. The product may not look like much — a little foil packet filled with a soft, sticky substance — but its advocates are prone to use the language of magic and wonders. What is Plumpy’nut? Sound it out, and you get the idea: it’s an edible paste made of peanuts, packed with calories and vitamins, that is specially formulated to renourish starving children.
Every six seconds worldwide, a child dies from malnutrition. Despite this alarming fact, childhood malnutrition remains under-documented and fundamentally misunderstood, reports Doctors Without Borders. To draw attention to the crisis, they called upon experienced photojournalists to visit seven countries, from war zones to impoverished regions to emerging economies, to create the multimedia series “Starved for Attention.”
The picture of starvation in Africa is one we think we know. “We tend to think of it as a lonely child in the middle of nowhere with a vulture hanging over her,” Marcus Bleasdale said. “It’s not like that at all. There is a very concerned family. Hundreds of doctors go into making these children well again.”