Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) are high energy, fortified, ready-to-eat foods suitable for home based treatment of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
Each pouch contains 500 calories. Its high caloric content, along with the high amounts of protein and fat, results in rapid weight growth, long-term muscle development, and a stronger immune system. If eaten two times a day for two to five weeks, a child can be saved from severe malnutrition.
5 Advantages of RUTF:
- RUTF can be consumed directly by the child and provides sufficient nutrient intake for complete recovery.
- Children treated at home with RUTF have better recovery rates than those that are hospitalized, and have less risk of acquiring hospital-related infections.
- Mothers are not required to stay with a sick child in the hospital away from home, enabling them to continue agricultural work or other efforts needed to ensure the livelihood of the entire family.
- RUTF is a ready-to-use paste that does not need to be mixed with water, thereby avoiding the risk of bacterial proliferation in case of accidental contamination.
- RUTF can be stored for three to four months without refrigeration, even at tropical temperatures. RUTF claims an outstanding 90 percent success rate in treatment of children with SAM. Even with the growing number of manufacturers, there is not enough RUTF being produced to provide the world’s 20 million children with the life-saving paste.
Brief History of RUTF
1996- The first peanut paste RUTF was developed.
2004- Demand began to rise as more countries began implementing the use of RUTF and it becomes increasingly urgent for UNICEF to identify new sources of the product.
2006- Supply Division began to work with manufacturers in countries where the RUTF could be manufactured for local use and approved suppliers in Niger and Ethiopia for local distribution.
2007- RUTF was endorsed as the standard of treatment worldwide for severe acute malnutritin by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Word Food Program (WFP), and the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition.
2009- Twelve manufacturing companies meet UNICEF’s requirements for global supply of RUTF.
2010- UNICEF is implementing CMSAM in about 55 countries, where there are 6.1 million children with SAM.