€4.5m supplement project targets malnutrition in Kenyan children

By Michael HURLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

One carton of 150 sachets is required to treat a severly malnourished child, UNICEF says
One carton of 150 sachets is required to treat a severly malnourished child, UNICEF says

Related tags: Africa, Nutrition

Malnourished children in Kenya are to receive nutrition supplements as part of a UNICEF-backed programme.

The project, worth 500m Kenyan shillings (€4.5m), is jointly funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Japan.

Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) supplements will be supplied to combat acute malnutrition among children in Turkana and Laikipia regions, UNICEF’s Kenya representative Pirko Heinonen said.

The energy-dense, micronutrient-enriched pastes are a mix of peanut butter, milk powder and vitamins and minerals. Since they do not need to be mixed with water, the risk of bacterial growth in case of accidental contamination is avoided.

UNICEF said its RUTF paste had a shelf life of 24 months.

RUTF paste is in production in African countries including Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Stocking up to beat malnutrition

A UNICEF document​ said the average price for one carton of RUTF ordered from Insta Products (EPZ) in Kenya, one of its 17 global RUTF suppliers, was $56 (€52) for the year up to July 2015. Each carton contains 150 sachets of 92 g RUTF.

UNICEF is the primary global procurer of RUTF, the organisation said.

Each year 60,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition in Kenya, with every child requiring one carton of RUTF to beat the condition, UNICEF said.

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) will direct supply of the foodstuffs to health facilities in the two communities.

With the working arrangement with the authority, there will be no stock-out of the nutrition supplements for severely malnourished children in hospitals in the two targeted counties​,” Heinonen said.

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