NAIROBI, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- The UN children's fund UNICEF has introduced a new emergency nutrition intervention to prevent malnutrition in over 100,000 of the most vulnerable children in Somalia.
A statement from the UN agency received here on Friday said the Plumpy'doz is the latest generation of ready-to-use food designed to satisfy the nutritional needs of young children aged 6 to 36 months and supplement available food from general food distributions by partners such as the World Food Program (WFP) as well as other traditional food sources.
Three teaspoons of Plumpy'doz three times a day provides each young child with additional calories, high quality protein and all the essential minerals and vitamins required to ensure growth and boost the immune system.
"This is the first time that Plumpy'doz will be distributed on such a large scale. UNICEF is working with partners to take proactive action to not only treat but prevent malnutrition," said UNICEF Somalia Representative, Christian Balslev-Olesen.
"By adopting this new approach, we aim to reach children before they become malnourished. In the face of Somalia's complex humanitarian situation, using Plumpy'doz is an innovative way to assist a population at risk and at the same time address the chronic nutrition situation where one in six children are acutely malnourished at any point in time."
The national average prevalence of acute malnutrition in Somalia is 18.6 percent -- above the 15 percent emergency threshold. Plumpy'doz is packaged in 325g pots, each one equivalent to a weekly ration for a child.
Made of vegetable fat, peanut paste, sugar and milk powder Plumpy'doz is being distributed to children through functioning health facilities, mobile health teams and where possible, through Child Health Days, a joint WHO and UNICEF program to accelerate young child survival.
Once registered, children will receive this supplement for a period of eight months.
In mid December, UNICEF and local health authorities provided Plumpy'doz to over 9,000 children living in poor urban areas and camps for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Bosasso, northeast Somalia where the highest rate of malnutrition ever in Somalia was recorded.
The latest Plumpy'doz is also being introduced to children in central and southern Somalia, where 75 percent of the targeted child population is located.
To date, UNICEF and partners have reached over 10,000 children from 6 to 36 months in the Middle and Lower Shabelle regions.
UNICEF said the next distribution will aim to reach over 40,000children in the Afgooye IDP corridor, home to the most densely populated IDP camp in the world and critical malnutrition rates compounded by limited humanitarian access.
By mid-January over 30,000 additional children in central and southern Somalia, including in Jowhar and Hiran, will be reached with the help of partners.