Malnutrition is estimated to contribute to more than one third of all child deaths worldwide, although it is rarely listed as the direct cause. But lack of access to highly nutritious foods, especially in the present day of rising food prices, is a common cause of malnutrition. Poor feeding practices, such as inadequate breastfeeding, offering the wrong foods and not ensuring that the child gets enough nutritious food, contribute to malnutrition too. Also, infection particularly frequent or persistent diarrhoea, pneumonia, measles and malaria also undermines a child’s nutritional status.
However, a recent developed home-based treatment for severe acute malnutrition commonly known as Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food is improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of children across Africa, Asia and beyond. However, RUTF as it is commonly known has revolutionized the treatment of severe malnutrition thereby providing foods that are safe to use at home and ensure rapid weight gain in severely malnourished children globally. The following are some of the benefits of RUTF.
- One simply needs to open the sachet by cutting one corner and eat the paste.
- No preparation or cooking is necessary.
- Does not need to be diluted with water. Thereby eliminating the very risk of water contamination.
- Can be used at home with supervision from the health centre.
- Reduces length of stay in hospital or Therapeutic Feeding Centre.
- Reduces number of staff necessary for preparation and distribution of therapeutic food.
- Has a faster recovery rate.
- Can be stored at room temperature for long periods of time without damaging.
- Has a long shelf life, even without refrigeration, for about 2 years.
- It is suitable for children aged 6 months and above.
- Contains the required amount of minerals and vitamins in accurate proportions.