Life in a bar

Life in a bar

A delivery of precious nutritional supplement bars changes lives in Pulchoul

Muot Duong is 29 months old. He has come with his mother to wait in line for a vital meal at the Tearfund feeding centre in Pulchoul, north-eastern South Sudan. But there is no rice or milk here.

His meal is called Plumpy'Sup – a highly nutritious food supplement that's known as 'ready to use therapeutic food', and is used by aid workers in places of disaster or famine. This is life in a bar.

Mother and child collect Plumpy Nut supplement at Tearfund feeding center in South Sudan.

This little sachet will be his breakfast, lunch and dinner for a good few days. Each bar contains 92g of a peanut-based paste, and provides essential vitamins and minerals to treat those, like Muot, who are suffering acute malnutrition.

And this stuff works. In just one month of coming to the feeding centre, Muot has gained 2.5kg. That's good news for his mother Chul Malual, who has been struggling to survive the conflict that has been raging in South Sudan, causing widespread fear, evacuations and famine. Walking away with a handful of these precious bars could save many lives.

Women gather with their babies to be weighted by Tearfund Nutrition Supervisor Manyuon Manyong.

Other babies are weighed and measured by Tearfund staff, and put onto a feeding programme until they are out of danger. MAF has flown in full plane-loads of Plumpy'Sup boxes for Tearfund on a number of occasions to the nearest dirt airstrip at Motot. This cargo is so precious to the desperate communities that surround the airstrip, and Tearfund is the only nutritional provider in the county.

Stephen Kempsell and  staff load the Cessna Caravan with Plumpy Sup for Tearfund in South Sudan

It's been an effort to stock up on Plumpy'Sup before the rains make this area inaccessible by road. Sometimes conditions can be so bad that MAF planes struggle to land. So the Tearfund staff can't take any chances – they must store as many of these precious bars as they possibly can. The 38,429 pregnant and lactating women and children suffering severe malnutrition depend on it.

Women line up to receive Plumpy Nut supplement packs for their malnourished babies at the Tearfund feeding center in South Sudan