Toddler Food Partners' mission is to support the treatment of malnourished children in the developing world.
42% of the world’s malnourished children live in India
Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is characterized by stunting and severe wasting, a common site in India. These children are frequently sick and susceptible to infections. Many die. Those that survive often suffer brain damage and a lifetime on the margins of society.
These children need treatment in the form of high-protein energy-dense food fortified with vitamins and minerals. Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) which meets these requirements has been internationally tested and recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most effective way to treat SAM.
In 2009, the Government of India banned the import and distribution of RUTF products until clinical trials with locally produced Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT, India's version of RUTF) showed that MNT was more effective than the current protocol for treating SAM in India.
Toddler Food Partners (TFP) is collaborating with organizations in Mumbai to produce MNT for a clinical trial comparing MNT to Standard Nutrition Therapy (SNT) at Sion Hospital. TFP volunteers installed equipment in March 2011 and trials began in April.
TFP has provided more than $50,000 in funding for the clinical trial over the past couple of years. The first phase of the clinical study is complete and the favorable results were presented at a conference in Nepal in September 2013. We are committed to support Phase II through 2014. In Phase II a local NGO is working to seek out, indenify and treat children suffering from SAM in the slums of Dharavi. The MNT used to treat the SAM children continues to be produced in the facility we helped set up at Sion Hospital.
We anticipate the study will be concluded by the end of 2014 and the data will help us persuade the decision makers in India to approve MNT for wider distribution based on favorable results. Government agencies as well as private entities are showing increasing interest in using MNT to treat SAM.
TFP focuses on the manufacturing process of RUTF. Their key role is selecting and obtaining the necessary equipment to manufacture RUTF on site. TFP, an all-volunteer organization, works with partner organizations that already have established sites in the developing world. All donations support the evaluation, design, selection, modification, assembly, acquisition, installation and support of equipment to manufacture RUTF locally.
RUTF is a peanut butter type mixture made with locally available ingredients to the extent possible and supplemented with vitamins and minerals. After extensive research in the developing world, it was endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2007. It is now the established treatment to combat severe malnutrition worldwide.
Under medical supervision, the parent(s) of children suffering from SAM are given a supply of RUTF to take home. The parent simply feeds it to their child for two weeks then returns for another medical check and another supply of RUTF. A typical course of treatment lasts 4 to 8 weeks.
Toddler Food Partners helps obtain the equipment necessary to manufacture RUTF at a local level in developing countries. Donations and volunteers help support our projects. One of our volunteers has pledged to match the first $5000 raised to fight SAM in India.
TFP is currently working with partners on two major projects:
Making RUTF in Haiti: TFP has worked with our partner Meds and Food for Kids since 2004. We helped them grow from a small hand-operated factory to a modern facility with automated equipment that started production in August 2012.
MNT for Kids in India: TFP is currently working with Sion hospital in Mumbai to equip and commission a factory to produce MNT that is being used in a clinical study treating SAM at the hospital.