Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods: A breakthrough in emergency nutrition
In an emergency situation where food shortages put displaced people at grave risk, therapeutic foods supplied by UNHCR and other aid organisations can make a life-saving difference.
Children and babies are the most vulnerable groups when it comes to malnutrition, and high-calorie therapeutic foods play a major part in putting them on the road to recovery.
Clean water is a precious resource in refugee settings. It is often in short supply, and can sometimes be hard to come by at all.
True to their name, ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) don’t need to be mixed with water like the therapeutic foods of the past. They can be consumed straight from the packet — which makes a huge difference for treating large numbers of refugees.
Therapeutic pastes like Plumpy’Nut® contain sweet, rich ingredients like peanuts, oil, powdered milk and sugar. This means they taste good enough to keep malnourished children and babies consuming the treatment.
They also contain a serious nutritional punch. RUTFs are fortified with high levels of micronutrients that strengthen the immune systems of young children and treat dangerous vitamin deficiencies.
It costs peanuts
With numbers of global displacement increasing every year, UNHCR’s operating budgets only get tighter. Therapeutic foods cost very little to produce and are easy to distribute.
They can be administered at home, reducing operating costs like feeding centres and medical staff. They don’t need to be refrigerated or cooked before consumption.
Best of all, they are incredibly efficient. Even a severely malnourished child has a 98% chance of recovery if they receive help in time.