Published: Saturday 30 September 1995

There is hope yet for the malnourisheQ adults in Somalia, ~o had previ- ously been written off as doomed to die by the international aid agencies, who focussed all their atten- tion on the children. But nowa new study conducted by Steve Collins of the Irish relief agency Concerl] Worldwide (cw) -whois stationed in Somalia - points out that the adults too can make full recovery if given the right treatment.

With the help of Michael Golden of the University of Aberdeen, Collins has devised a special diet for the starving Somali grown-ups. Till recently the assessments of the survival capabilities of a human being had been made on the basis of his body mass index (BMI). It was sug- gested that those with BMI level below 12 were doomed to die.

But the cw workers insist that they have succeeded in reviving adults with BMilev- els as low as 8.7. Collins' remedy is now being put into practice. In the ongoing relief efforts in the country, cw and other agencies are setting up adult therapeutic centres. The World Health Organization too has agreed, for the first time, to include a chapter on specialised care for adults in its new guide- lines on famine relief.

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