Mozambique’s first Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food factory opens in Beira
Mozambique, April 2010 – The first factory producing Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food in Mozambique was launched in Beira on Monday 5 April by Minister of Health Ivo Garrido in an effort to scale up integrated nutrition interventions throughout the country, specifically the outpatient treatment of severe acute malnutrition.
The inauguration marks a joint venture between the Ministry of Health, Joint Aid Management and UNICEF. The Beira based factory is a franchise of the French company Nutriset, patent holder of the Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food called Plumpy’nut®.
“The opening of this factory is a concrete example of what the private and public sector can achieve when they work together,” said UNICEF Representative Leila Pakkala.
Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food is a peanut-based paste which contains a mixture of powdered milk, oil, sugar, vitamins and minerals in proportions appropriate to treat a malnourished child.
About four per cent of children under five in Mozambique suffer from acute malnutrition, and among these just over one per cent suffers from severe acute malnutrition.
Severe acute malnutrition has traditionally been treated in the hospital with specific therapeutic milk known as F-75 and F-100, which may require that a child remain in the hospital with his or her mother for up to four weeks. Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, however, allows for outpatient treatment of children older than six months who have no other complications requiring hospital care. Community involvement is crucial to identify and refer malnourished children and to follow up on them to ensure they comply with the treatment.
Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food requires no preparation or special supervision, so an untrained adult – such as a parent – can deliver it to an undernourished child at home and take it to the outpatient clinic for check ups, allowing governments to reduce the amount of money spent on therapeutic feeding in hospitals and health centres.
The Beira factory is capable of producing 500 metric tons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food per year, enough to treat about 35,000 malnourished children.
The following countries also have established local production of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger and Tanzania.