One in 13 children on our planet suffers from hunger

In the world, 2 million children die of malnutrition each year. Most children at risk of malnutrition live in Asia and Africa. They have no access to a diet with enough calories to allow their bodies proper development.

MAGNA helps fight malnutrition through its treatment and prevention programs, which have already saved thousands of children. Malnutrition can lead to a weakened immune system. This makes children more susceptible to various diseases, which can then lead to further malnutrition, creating a sort of vicious circle.

The basic remedy for malnutrition is a special therapeutic diet (RUTF, meaning ready-to-use therapeutic food) containing all the nutrients the child needs.

For most children, RUTF is able to cure acute malnutrition without complications in 8-12 weeks, making it a simple and effective solution for the field. The ready-to-use therapeutic food contains an enriched milk powder, providing the undernourished child with all the nutrients needed to restore weight. It is administered according to the child’s condition and weight, and the patient needs no other food during treatment. The therapeutic food has a long shelf life and, because it requires no preparation, can be given in virtually any environment. Patients not suffering from complications can even take it at home. It comes in paste or stick form. MAGNA uses therapeutic food in all its nutritional programs, whether in Congo, Cambodia, or South Sudan.

In most cases we can treat acute malnutrition within 8-12 weeks.

Malnutrition challenges the medical community on many levels. The first problem is to locate. Next, managing acute malnutrition means not just ensuring sufficient calories, but also treating associated illnesses. This of course isn’t easy in developing countries with limited medicines available. Physicians therefore have to take into account the logistics of the whole treatment on top of managing malnutrition and its associated complications. Field aid distribution is yet another challenge in preventing recurrence of disease.

Our goal, therefore, is to reach as many malnourished children in the community as possible, and start treating them right on the spot. Our endeavour is always to identify them and provide them a therapeutic diet before serious health complications (diarrhoea, pneumonia) that require hospitalization.

Children suffering from complications associated with severe acute malnutrition may require a rapid response from a highly specialized physician. For those needing hospitalization and regular monitoring, MAGNA provides stabilization centres with up to 20 intensive care beds. Treatment includes therapeutic milk given by nasogastric tube, antibiotics, worming, vaccination control, and malaria screening. Patients with sufficient recovery can continue in the program as outpatients with weekly physician visits, when their weight and general health can be monitored.

Cases of mild malnutrition, its risks, but also cases of serious malnutrition without complications can be treated in our outpatient centers that provide the ready-to-use food (RUTF). Parents can also give this treatment to children at home and their child's health and general development can be monitored during visits to MAGNA outpatient centers.

Measuring malnutrition

Our teams measure children by comparing weight to height according to international WHO standards, or by measuring middle arm circumference (MUAC) using color-coded bracelets. This measurement is very simple and therefore often used by community health professionals.

Work in the community and prevention

The main task of working in a community is to find children at risk of malnutrition, in order to treat them as early and effectively as possible. Specially trained MAGNA community workers handle this in the field. An important part of their work includes educating and motivating young children’s parents to maintain hygiene and good eating habits. We teach mothers and families how to prepare sufficiently nutritious food even in humble conditions or in poverty. MAGNA community workers also visit families of young patients receiving therapeutic diets to oversee successful treatment.

Every year your donations cover thousands of treatments and vaccinations.

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