In Septemeber 2008, I traveled 6000 miles to Haiti's Kenscoff mountains. My mission: to care for some of the orphaned and abandoned, the sick, malnourished and premature infants of this beautiful but beleagured Caribbean nation.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

L'ap Koupe Dwet Mwen!

(He'll Bite My Finger Off!)

Twelve month old Peterson came to GLA from an orphanage that was badly damaged during the earthquake. He weighed 9.5lb. There wasn't an ounce of fat or muscle on his bony frame. He was wasting away from malnutrition.God's Littlest Angels had recently been blessed with a small donation of a fortified peanut butter paste that is designed specifically to treat malnourished children. It is called Supplementary Plumpy.

Peterson was sick with pneumonia. He had a fever, stomach pains and chronic diarrhoea. He didn't want to eat, yet excellent nutrition was going to be critical to his his survival and revovery.

Severely malnourished children who do do eat are usually fed with feeding tubes. In Peterson's case, we opened a packet of Supplementary Plumpy. He refused to take anything from a spoon, so one of his nannies dipped her finger in the paste and spread it on Peterson's lips. The baby's eyes widened at the first taste of Plumpy Nut. He took a hold of his nanny's finger, and thrust it in his mouth. 'L'ap koupe dwet mwen!' (He'll bite my finger off) she squealed!'

It was a relief to have found something nutritious that this child wanted to eat. Supplementary Plumpy is made from ground peanuts, vegetable oil, powdered milk, sugar and a vitamine-mineral complex.

It contains just the right balance of nutrients for malnourished children and it is high in energy, with 500 calories in a 92gram pouch. This is useful because it enables children to take in concentrated nutrition at a time when their stomachs have been shrunken by starvation . This can make the difference between life and death in a severely malnourished child.

The transformation in our children who have been receiving just one packet of Supplementary Plumpy daily is very encouraging.

Clercineau On Arrival

......................................................Clercineau Two weeks Later

Jerry On Arrival
..........................................................................................Jerry Two Weeks Later

As supplies of this precious paste, which is difficult to source in Haiti, began to run low at the orphanage, GLA sent out a request to our French Board, asking them to help us obtain some more Supplementary Plumpy. The paste is produced by a French company.

This week, as a result of the efforts of GLA France, we received a shipment of a similar product, know as Plumpy Nut. I had asked for two boxes, I received ten! This is enough to treat 26 severely malnourished children or 53 children who are mildly-moderately malnourished.

From now on, every malnourished child who arrives at the orphanage and who is able to swallow the paste, will be given Plumpy Nut. I am sure that most of them will 'bite our fingers' to get it!


Brigitte & lilou said...

GLad to see that it has been delivered... as soon as you need some, we will order them for you...
Can we copy your post on our Blog ?
Brigitte Eveno
aGLAĆ© France

Susan Westwood said...

Yes you can, Brigitte. Thank you so much!

nicnacpaddywac said...

How wonderful - the difference in these wee ones is so visible.

r. said...

Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center frequently posts before-and-after photos of kids holding bags of Medika Mamba a similar Ready-T-Use-Therapeutic Food (RUTF) based on peanuts. The Medika Mamba is produced by an organization called Meds & Food for Kids, which makes it in Haiti, using as many Haitian-grown raw materials as possible (in an attempt to help alleviate the economic root source of malnutrition). Your post reminded me of that program--I wonder if they are still operating after the earthquake . . . No matter how you get the stuff or who you get it from, though, it's great that the kids have access to it, as it really does save lives!