Saving children from severe malnutrition

Seven-month-old Makool Malou is among the growing number of children who depend on World Vision’s nutrition program for survival in impoverished South Sudan’s Warrap state.

By Abraham Nhial
Published February 7, 2014 at 04:45pm PST

Last fall, as malnutrition set in for 7-month-old Makool Malou, his parents delayed treatment, initially blaming the illness on a traditional South Sudanese  belief that an unhappy spirit  causes  malnutrition. 

Finally, in early November, the family sought medical care at Tonj Hospital’s stabilization center, where Makool was admitted with diarrhea and fever.

“Our biggest challenge was access to medicine,” says Adut Garang, Makool’s mother. “We visited a health clinic in Thiet, but we were told there were no medicines, so my mother and my husband told me to bring the child to Tonj Hospital.”

Makool is among the growing number of children who depend on World Vision’s nutrition program for survival in impoverished South Sudan’s Warrap state. At the stabilization center, Makool received medical care and therapeutic food to set him on the road to  recovery.

Severely malnourished children like Makool receive therapeutic milk and Plumpy’nut, a nutrient-rich paste that speeds recovery. When children recover, they are transferred to an outpatient therapeutic program, where they continue receiving Plumpy’nut until they regain their health.

“We usually feed severely malnourished children with therapeutic milk when they have lost appetite and then Plumpy’nut when they gain appetite,” says Mary Sunday, a World Vision nurse at the stabilization center. Some children become very active and begin to play again after only four days (of) therapeutic feeding.”

Although Makool looks weak and thin, he is getting better each day as he receives therapeutic feeding and medical attention from World Vision. Makool’s mother and World Vision staff working in the center say the infant has made steady progress.  

“The fever and diarrhea have gone down, and even the skin colour has changed,” Adut says. “He eats Plumpy’nut every day — his appetite has improved.”

While Makool’s health continues to improve, his family and many others just like his struggle to find food. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that worldwide 35 percent of all under-5 child deaths have hunger as the underlying cause. Join us in helping Makool and other children like him grow up to be healthy.


Ways to help

Pray for Makool and other children like him who suffer from malnutrition. Pray that they are able to overcome cultural misconceptions to get the proper medical care they need to become healthy.

Make a one-time donation that will help children progress toward better health. Your gift multiplies four times to provide access to life-saving products like Plumpy’Nut and LifeMilk*, plus other essential healthcare interventions that help save children’s lives.


**Plumpy’Nut ® is a registered trademark of Nutriset. It is one of multiple ready-to-use therapeutic foods distributed by World Vision. The term "LifeMilk" refers to the high-energy therapeutic milk F100 and F75 and should not be confused with any other product of a similar name. In most cases, World Vision receives F100 and F75 as a donated product and funds raised through this appeal will be used to support programs that administer the product as well as other vital health programs.