ACUTELY sick children in hospitals will benefit from the 4000 bags of milk powder supplied by the Accor Foundation to Lautoka Hospital last week.
Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma said a study undertaken after the floods of earlier this year revealed cases of under-nutrition in various villages and settlements.
"This additional milk powder from Accor Foundation will be for children, to nourish them in the acute phase.
"The mother will receive the powder, it is targeting children in hospital and those released to go home," he said. We are grateful to Accor."
He said according to the study, there were cases of malnutrition but not to the degree experienced in Africa.
"The problem is when children are under-nourished, it can easily shift to malnourishment if the problem is left unattended," Dr Sharma said, adding that there were programs in place that included milk powder in the past.
"But it was found that this did not reach children who needed it most.
"So we had a program of rice and lentil for under-nourished children and we have the national iron and mineral program, as well as the de-worming program. Recently we introduced Yoplait from a Nadi company that is distributed to children who are sick in hospital."
Dr Sharma said the ministry had in place "programmatic means" so each child was adequately nourished and vaccinated to allow them to reach their full potential as adults.
The $20,000 milk powder supply by Accor can feed up to 200 children for approximately three months.
Accor vice president New Zealand and Fiji Garth Simmons said the group "hopes to make a life saving difference to the many children of Fiji who are suffering from malnutrition".