Dire consequences for children under two As food aid is mobilized in response to the global food price crisis, the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warns that sending adult food to feed young children will not save them from the risk of malnutrition. Today MSF urged donors to ensure their aid includes special food for young children. MSF supports calls for increased food aid to families but this will not be enough. “We see that when food prices rise the first thing to be reduced or cut out are things like milk products that young kids need most,” said Dr. Susan Shepherd, nutritional advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign. “This is why it is so urgent that donors not only provide enriched flours, which are designed to meet the needs of adults, but also help supply foods specifically designed for growing kids.” In some places where MSF works food prices are rising alarmingly. For example, in Sierra Leone from December to February, — the price of sugar, flour, oil and rice — increased by 40%, according to MSF’s monitoring of local markets. This is concerning, because in the 2005 Niger food crisis, when the price of millet tripled, MSF clinics were inundated with malnourished children. Conventional food aid continues to provide children with inadequate foods, such as fortified blended flours that do not contain all the nutrients that a young child needs. Children require diets that contain specific nutrients included in animal-source food, like those in milk. Without essential nutrients, young children are at risk for malnutrition that leads to increased vulnerability to disease and increased risk of death. “Unfortunately donors continue to apply a
Food Aid Basket Missing Critical Ingredients
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