The United States government, via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has handed over more than 60,000 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) estimated to be worth $3.5 million to the governments of Bauchi, Kebbi and Sokoto states.
This initiative reflects USAID’s commitment to expanding access to treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
Severe acute malnutrition is a significant public health concern in Nigeria, impacting approximately 3.6 million children. The situation is exacerbated by challenges related to food security, limited access to quality healthcare, and insufficient nutrition interventions. Addressing severe malnutrition in Nigerian children requires a multi-sectoral approach and innovative solutions.
The U.S. Mission in Nigeria has risen to this challenge. By supplying RUTF to growers, manufacturers, distributors and shippers, USAID has played a crucial role in making therapeutic food more accessible and affordable. This approach entails close collaboration with the government of Nigeria, the private sector and the donor community, focusing on several key areas:
Strengthening Local RUTF Manufacturing: This initiative aims to enhance local production capacity for RUTF.
Incorporating RUTF into state health systems: USAID works to integrate RUTF into state health programmes, including drug revolving funds and health budgets.
Improving groundnut inputs: Efforts are made to enhance the quality of groundnut inputs used in RUTF manufacturing.
Enhancing the quality of nutrition health services: Quality improvements are sought in nutrition health services.
Sustainable integration of humanitarian nutrition services: The integration of humanitarian nutrition services is a key focus.
USAID mission director, Melissa Jones speaking at the handover ceremony on October 26, emphasised the importance of reducing malnutrition. She underscored how it is a critical component for improving health, education, and inclusive economic development. She also commended Nigeria’s Ministry of Health for including RUTF and other nutrition commodities in the list of essential medicines, which ensures that these life-saving essential foods are readily available at all healthcare facilities.