Eating ready-to-use therapeutic foods such as Plumpy‘Nut® by people not suffering from malnutrition is a reality in Kananga, the main city in the Western Kasaï province. Everyone eats it as though it were just another peanut-based food. This presents a danger to all as it can lead to gout, diabetes, hypertension and renal insufficiency.
An inquiry to assess the situation
In order to delve into the situation, twenty Child Reporters went from door-to-door to carry out a mini-study on how parents perceive the use of Plumpy‘Nut®. More than 70% of them do not know of any product that treats severe acute malnutrition, and 73% are not aware of the consequences of eating Plumpy‘Nut® when not suffering from malnutrition.
Because of the lack of information, parents are giving Plumpy‘Nut® to their healthy children.
Thanks to these results, we now realize that awareness campaigns need to be carried out in our communities and schools.
The situation must change
In April 2019, Child Reporters conducted awareness sessions for 200 families in the city of Kananga to explain the proper use of Plumpy‘Nut®, as well as the risks involved for healthy people. Most of the parents there showed interest in our discussions and indicated they would share the message with their friends, neighbours, and acquaintances.
The authorities were also approached to ask for their involvement and commitment to ban the sale and misuse of Plumpy‘Nut®. They committed to educate the population and the governor of the province is in the process of signing an order to penalize anyone involved in the misuse of Plumpy‘Nut®.
More information on child nutrition in DRC:
Kindly translated from French by Marguerite McMillan
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