Malnutrition Campaign - Starved for attention

"Unfortunately, sometimes, the problem of malnutrition gets hidden under the big discussions on eliminating poverty or eliminating hunger, but medical science is not in a position to say any better than anyone else how to go about eliminating hunger. What we do know is how to control malnutrition."

- Dr Milton Tectonidis MSF nutrition advisor

Food is Not Enough - Without essential nutrients, millions of children will die

Food is Not Enough, MSF's new malnutrition campaign is advocating for a global scale-up of therapeutic ready-to-use food (RUF) for the most at risk children and further efforts to use supplemental RUF to prevent children from becoming dangerously malnourished in the first place. MSF is also highlighting the need for increased research and development into a range of therapeutic products.

What MSF is calling for

Ministries of Health, donors, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, academic nutritionists, and other organisations as well as researchers, producers and users of RUF.

Understanding malnutrition

Malnutrition is often lost in discussions around the subject of hunger, especially in the context of the discourse to "end world hunger," or to "feed the world." These blurred definitions help perpetuate the inadequate response to malnutrition. It is crucial to distinguish between malnutrition and hunger, as malnutrition requires responses that go beyond food aid.

Treating malnutrition: The RUF revolution

Ingredients of RUF are better suited to children's needs. The nutrient-dense spreads are better able to target as well as safely and effectively deliver the full range of minerals, trace metals, essential amino-acids and lipids and other beneficial nutrient factors required by young fast-growing children. They are tasty, dense in calories, and are ideal for small children with small stomachs.

A history of therapeutic RUF and its use by MSF

From 1994 and the first use of therapeutic milk to 2007 and outpatient treatment with therapeutic RUF

MSF experience in Maradi, Niger

"We saw, in 2005 and 2006, that giving mothers the responsibility for treating uncomplicated acute malnutrition produces good results. It is only when a child is ill or severely malnourished that treatment takes place in medical facilities." Isabelle Defourny, Deputy Manager of the nutritional programme in Maradi, Niger

Increasing and ensuring the supply of therapeutic RUF

The market is currently dominated by a single milk and peanut-based product, with few other options available. MSF has been advocating for Nutriset, the patent holder, to offer favourable licensing terms to other producers. 

Download the report: Food is Not Enough (PDF)