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Press release

UNICEF and industry tackle unprecedented global demand for nutrition supplies

COPENHAGEN, 4 October 2011 – UNICEF brought together almost 100 partners today to discuss unprecedented demand for nutrition products and called for strengthened collaboration and partnerships among United Nations agencies, civil society, academics and the nutrition industry.

With demand at an all-time high for life-saving nutrition products ranging from ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to children’s weighing scales, UNICEF provided an update to the industry focusing on priorities to ensure that communities in need have access to the right products.

Shanelle Hall, Director of UNICEF’s Supply Division, said the crisis in the Horn of Africa was a “harsh reminder of the importance of sustained nutrition programmes and the ability to provide a rapid response." She said globally over 20 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition.

She urged the nutrition industry to "help civil society, governments and the UN to find solutions to this human crisis.” UNICEF procures 80 per cent of the world’s RUTF – the most favoured treatment for severe acute malnutrition among children under the age of five. A 12-year retrospective of awarded prices for internationally-procured RUTF has been compiled in consultation with the named suppliers and is now available on UNICEF Supply’s website https://www.unicef.org/supply/index_59716.html.

“Compared to 2010, we expect an increase of 50 per cent in nutrition products by 2012, but this is still only sufficient to help 15 per cent of the children facing starvation,” said Ms. Hall.

“Together with our partners and industry we have to ensure that we can meet the need by increasing production capacity, encouraging new suppliers and supporting the development of innovations in product development.”

Participants also focused on global production of supplementary food, such as Corn Soya Blend flour, which feeds thousands of families in the Horn drought and famine in Somalia.

Practical areas covered in the two-day meeting included work between Médecins Sans Frontières, the World Food Programme and UNICEF to implement a standardized quality assurance system for producing therapeutic and supplementary food. This will achieve greater efficiency in approving suppliers and provide the highest level of product quality.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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Further details about the partners’ meeting is available at: https://www.unicef.org/supply/index_59719.html

For more information, please contact:
Joan Howe, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Supply Division, Copenhagen
Mobile: + 45 29 65 71 94




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