In 2005, MSF teams admitted more than 63,000 children under five suffering from severe acute malnutrition to their therapeutic feeding programs in five regions of Niger. This is a chronic emergency situation for which there is a simple, effective answer that targets acute malnutrition.
Without access to a wide range of essential nutrients, 9 children will continue to die every minute of causes related to malnutrition. MSF calls for food aid to change and for a nutrient rich diet to be made available to children to save millions of young lives.
While the global prices for basic commodities like flour, milk, and corn have fallen back to the levels of end 2006, deaths and crippling lifelong handicaps caused by malnutrition have not decreased in the most affected countries where malnutrition is a recurrent, seasonal phenomenon with only very limited links to global food price developments. The reason lies in the specific needs of very young children for a diverse and nutrient-rich diet.
Between 2001 and 2005, the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) therapeutic feeding programme in Maradi, Niger offered treatment for severe acute malnutrition centred on the use of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and the outpatient management of all uncomplicated cases.
Malnutrition is an urgent humanitarian emergency that contributes to the deaths of 3.5 to 5 million children under five each year. Millions more are left vulnerable to illnesses or suffering from physical or mental disabilities due to malnutrition. This in turn contributes to impediments to education and development in affected countries.