United States Provides Therapeutic Food to Fight Child Hunger in East Africa

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In response to the ongoing food crisis in East Africa, USAID has provided an in-kind donation of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to treat more than 71,000 children with severe acute malnutrition in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Burundi. 

Severe acute malnutrition is a major killer of children under five, accounting for approximately 1 million deaths annually worldwide.  UNICEF reports that when properly used RUTF is safe, cost effective, and has saved hundreds of thousands of children’s lives in recent years.

This highly nutritious paste requires neither cooking nor refrigeration, and can be administered at home once a child is diagnosed as requiring this treatment by trained staff at a health clinic.

“Having this energy-dense, micronutrient-enhanced paste available to our partners is a milestone in the evolution of U.S. food aid products,” said Dina Esposito, Director of USAID’s Office of Food for Peace. “This therapeutic food is part of USAID’s larger agenda to offer an array of more nutritious food products to better serve vulnerable groups,” she said following her visit to Mana Nutrition's factory in Fitzgerald, Georgia, where some of the USAID-funded RUTF is made.

“This new food product can save the lives of severely malnourished children across the region. We are very excited about our ability to do more.”

Through this regional contribution of 990 metric tons of RUTF from USAID, UNICEF will be able to treat over 71,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. This shipment represents the first round of production, valued at approximately $5.9 million. An additional 500 metric tons will soon be available to partners.

This assistance complements the emergency and development food assistance that USAID provides to these four countries, which totaled more than $347 million in fiscal year 2012.

USAID partners with the public and private sector throughout East Africa to improve the lives of East Africans through programs for health, education, democracy, and economic growth. 


Last updated: June 14, 2017

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