23 October 2010 – UNICEF, video

Earlier this week I traveled to UNICEF’s Supply Division headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark for a meeting to discuss UNICEF’s upcoming Request for Proposal (RFP) for Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF). Two of my teammates from MANA US also traveled to Copenhagen, so it was great to see them. The meeting was very informative, productive, and motivating. Here are some stats:

• An estimated 17 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition annually.
• In 2010, approximately 1.5 million children will receive RUTF. That represents about 9% coverage.
• In 2011, UNICEF expects to serve 1.6 million children with RUTF. In 2012, almost 1.9 million.

One might look at the numbers and question why only 10% of children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) receive RUTF. The answer is complex and varies from country to country (and even within countries); however, two central reasons are well documented:

1. Many countries are working on implementing and/or expanding programs for Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) protocol. This protocol includes dispensing RUTF to children diagnosed with SAM without complications; however, the protocol is still relatively new.

2. Funding for RUTF remains a challenge. MANA’s vision in Rwanda is to serve a regional producer for RUTF, serving Rwanda, Burundi, and eastern Congo. Our meeting at UNICEF once again confirmed the need, and we were challenged to expand our planned production here. Fortunately, we had already designed our production line to accommodate increased volumes, so it looks as if we will need that capacity sooner rather than later!

This morning I went to look at a potential factory. Take a look at the video to get a feel for the work ahead of us.

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