A local Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food? Let's try!

There are more than 19 million children globally who have Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), a disease with serious consequences including, increased morbidity and mortality, impaired intellectual development, suboptimal adult work capacity, and increased risk of disease in adulthood.

Over the past decade, Rwanda has made significant strides in reducing child malnutrition. Acute malnutrition has dropped from 5% in 2005 to 2% in 2015. However more has to be done, especially since the levels of children under 5 stunting due to malnutrition remain high, at 38% according to 2016/17 findings by Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey (RDHS)

To support the government of Rwanda to combat this problem, IMB on 20 August received a 2-year USAID Development Innovation Ventures grant to develop an alternative bean-based Ready to Use Therapeutic Food formulation. Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) provides life-saving treatment for children with SAM.

(From R-L) Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr.Evrard Nahimana with Kathryn Beck pose with TIP staff members at Aheza FF manufacturing plant

(From R-L) Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr.Evrard Nahimana with Kathryn Beck pose with TIP staff members at Aheza FF manufacturing plant

In partnership with The Ihangane project (TIP), IMB is to create and test a cheaper, alternative RUTF using local ingredients from Rwanda to treat SAM and contribute to the Government of Rwanda’s goal of eliminating malnutrition. TIP is an international NGO that is already producing Aheza Fortified Food, to solve the problem of fortified porridge stock outs at rural health centers.

“We hope to identify a combination of ingredients which you can readily find in rwanda to create a ready to use therapeutic food for treatment of severe acute malnutrition that is lower in cost than the current formulation and completely locally made. This will help to bring treatment for malnutrition closer to where the need really is and support The government in eliminating malnutrition.” Kathryn Beck, the Nutrition specialist at IMB asserts.

The project is in its initial stages and is supposed to last until 2021.

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