At the Nutrition Village SIM and Sudanese staff treat moderate to severely malnourished children, most of who begin as patients at the nearby SIM clinic and are referred for extra help. Most are malnourished due to illness, not lack of food, although a few are deficient in protein because of high carb diets. The two most common illnesses are malaria, which curbs appetite, and diarrhea, which causes loss of nutrients. Only the most severe cases are admitted for inpatient treatment and the numbers are limited to 10-14 children at a time, whereas in outpatient care there are upwards of 60. In the last 4 years Nutrition Village ministry has saved the lives of 1200 toddlers who were staring death in the face.
Plumpy Nut is a staple at the Village and is given to all children, whether during inpatient care or to take home. This 500 calorie concoction is a peanut base with milk powder, oil, sugar, vitamins and iron, giving kids additional nutrition and much needed protein once physically able to ingest it. A blend of corn and soy flour with sugar and oil is given to malnourished pregnant or nursing mothers, ensuring their babies get enough nutrients and milk.
Staff members educate mothers on essential health issues. Lessons include important topics such as:
- Getting medical help early on
- Overall cleanliness to keep germs from spreading
- Breast feeding until age 2 boosting immune systems against disease
- Small, frequent meals rather than big meals common to Sudanese culture
- Good nutrition and eating a balanced diet, although it is more expensive to buy meat or beans