Saturday, October 16th is World Food Day, and in honor of the occasion, we are reflecting on the 8 million children in India suffering from severe malnutrition--innocents who were born in a country where 47% of children are malnourished.
Children in India don't just suffer from a lack of food, but a lack of a balanced diet including essential vitamins and minerals. In the worst cases, children will succumb to Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM)--malnutrition that is so severe, the body begins consuming its own tissues. If untreated, SAM results in death or permanent physical and mental stunting--perpetuating poverty and hunger for generations.
A Revolutionary New Treatment
Until a few years ago, SAM was treated--rather unsuccessfully--by hospitalization or dry food therapy, and only 25-40% of children survived. Miraculously, there has been a recent revolution in the treatment of SAM with the development of vitamin fortified, energy-dense food formulations-Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs). RUTFs rapidly put weight on malnourished children and are typically comprised of a mixture of ground peanuts, powdered milk, sugar, vegetable oil, and vitamins and minerals. With an 85% patient recovery rate, RUTF treatment is simply the cheapest and most effective treatment in existence.
Now is the Time to Act
CTI engineers, nutritionists, and food scientists have developed an RUTF formulation composed of peanuts and other ingredients that can be found in India. With your support, CTI will establish pilot facilities in India to produce RUTF with local ingredients and local workers. The product will be distributed through the Sion Hospital Group in Mumbai for formal clinical trials under the direction of recognized pediatricians. Once operational, the process will be scaled-out and the RUTF will be offered to thousands of severely malnourished children in India.
Help us Save Lives
We can't continue this project without your help. Dr. Shiv and Gale Murty have issued a challenge grant for this project. Total donations before December 31, 2010 up to $5,000 will be matched 100% by Shiv and Gale. Shiv, a project lead and long time volunteer with CTI, is a graduate of the India Institute of Technology - Bombay (a partner of this project) and a retired food scientist with General Mills.