Fighting SAM (Severe Acute Malnutrition) in India

SUMMARY: Produce shelf stable, high energy, high protein ready to eat food products suitable for community-based treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition for children under 5 years old. We will utilize locally available ingredients and transfer the technology to women-led local self help groups and small scale enterprises to promote self sufficiency.

PROBLEM SPACE: A key goal established by the UN seeks to reduce by half the mortality rate of children under 5 years. While severe malnutrition is a serious problem around the world, it is particularly serious in India, where over 57 million children are underweight and 20% of these are severely malnourished.

SOLUTION: The original, gold standard for treating SAM has been a RUTF product called Plumpy Nut, produced in France. In fact, UNICEF had been importing Plumpy Nut into India. Plumpy Nut has a peanut base and is quite expensive. India is one the world’s leading producer of peanuts and as a result, the importation of Plumpy Nut has generated considerable protests. The Indian government has informed UNICEF that it will no longer accept the importation of Plumpy Nut. The feeling is that this treatment option is not sustainable due to high cost of the imported product and the scale of problem it is seeking to address.

There are also other local Indian options and at least one large commercial operation that produce a RUTF-like product. But these local operations are limited in their scope, often not as nutritionally satisfactory for the treatment of SAM and in some cases more expensive.

CTI’s approach will be to produce RUTF products locally which are based on the UNICEF guidelines that may be more accepted due to the fact that it uses locally available ingredients with local labor.

CONTACT PERSON: [email protected]