Severely malnourished children are frequently sick and susceptible to infections. Many die. Those that survive often suffer brain damage and a lifetime on the margin of society.
A recently developed home-based treatment for severe acute malnutrition is improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of children a year.
Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) has revolutionized the treatment of severe malnutrition – providing foods that are safe to use at home and ensure rapid weight gain in severely malnourished children.
Local production of RUTF paste is already under way in several countries including Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger. The advantage of RUTF is that it is a ready- to-use paste which does not need to be mixed with water, thereby avoiding the risk of bacterial proliferation in case of accidental contamination.
The product, which is based on peanut butter mixed with dried skimmed milk and vitamins and minerals, can be consumed directly and provides sufficient nutrient intake for complete recovery, requires no refrigeration or water for preparation, and has a 2-year shelf life when vacuum sealed.
Following the consensus on community-based management for severe malnutrition reached in a informal consultation in 2005, WHO has worked with UNICEF on the development of a field manual on community-based management of severe malnutrition, and the IMCI guidelines have been revised to take account of the new home-based treatment.
RUTF can be safely and easily produced in small or large quantities in most settings worldwide. Gujarat is ideally located to manufacture RUTF and Amul ideally placed to become a market leader and supplier of RUTF in India and around the world