The United States government, through (USAID), has donated over 60,000 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) – valued at $3.5 million – to the governors of Bauchi, Kebbi, and Sokoto states in Nigeria. The handover is part of USAID’s bid to expand access to treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
In Nigeria, severe acute malnutrition remains a significant public health concern, affecting 3.6 million children. With challenges of food insecurity, limited access to quality healthcare, and inadequate nutrition interventions, multisectoral collaboration and innovation is needed. Expanding sustainable local access to affordable, life-saving nutrition commodities is essential to address severe malnutrition in Nigerian children.
U.S. Mission Nigeria has risen to the challenge. By providing RUTF to growers, manufacturers, distributors, and shippers, USAID has helped make therapeutic food more affordable and accessible. The approach collaborates with the Government of Nigeria, the private sector, and donor community to: 1) strengthen local RUTF manufacturing; 2) incorporate RUTF into state health systems such as drug revolving funds, and health budgets; 3) improve the quality of groundnut inputs for manufacturing RUTF; 4) strengthen the quality of nutrition health services; and 5) integrate humanitarian nutrition services more sustainably.
Speaking at the October 26 handover ceremony, USAID Mission Director Melissa Jones remarked, “reducing malnutrition is a critical component of improving health, education, and inclusive economic development. We commend Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health for including RUTF and other nutrition commodities in the list of essential medicines. Doing so allows this life-saving essential food to be procured and made available at all health facilities.”