Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF)
This little boy in the picture comes from the Central African Republic. He’s a refugee from the fighting there and because he’s suffering from malnutrition, He is consuming Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a major tool used by MSF to treat malnourished children.
© Natacha Buhler
Malnutrition weakens immune systems, opening the door for deadly illnesses like malaria, pneumonia and measles. Impaired growth and brain damage are possible. Most of the damage is done before a child reaches two years of age.
RUTF was invented by French medical researchers in 1997 and after several pilot tests, MSF started to use it as an essential tool to treat children during food crises. It can cure up to 90% of children with uncomplicated malnutrition.
What are the advantages of RUTF? International food aid used to rely on fortified blended foods to improve the quality of children's diets, mostly in the form of a corn-soy blend. But they rarely include all of the elements needed by a malnourished child, and the cereal and soy components make absorption of nutrients difficult for children.
Cure rate of RUTF on children with uncomplicated malnutrition
RUTF, which carries 500 kcal (equal to six bananas) per pack, provides the essential vitamins, minerals, fat and proteins children need to survive and grow properly. Formulated in a peanut-milk paste that children find tasty and easy to eat, RUTF helps mothers provide nourishment for their children. The packs are instantly consumable, easy to store and transport even in hot or humid climates, and don’t need to be cooked or prepared with warm water, thus eliminating the risk of contamination.
In the past, mothers needed to bring their children to therapeutic feeding centres or even have them hospitalized to receive complete nutritional therapy. Now RUTF can be handed out for home use. "I prefer to come here once a week rather than staying in a treatment centre,” says one mother in Niger, who has a child needing RUTF. “I have to take care of the fields and my other children - I have three other children at home."
RUTF is a low-cost and efficient kind of therapeutic food. For example, 13 children can be treated for a week at the cost of only HKD $516.
A donation platform based on the e-cart concept
Through our online “MSF Warehouse”, you can now deliver various relief items including RUTF to the front line and help save more lives:
“MSF Warehouse” is a donation platform based on the e-cart concept. The items you see on this site are the materials and supplies from actual MSF warehouse located around the world, with the largest in Bordeaux, France. MSF has a sophisticated logistics system that allows critical supplies stored at the warehouses to be sent to projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and other parts of the world rapidly, as soon as they are needed.