Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) teams are using cutting-edge strategies to confront nutritional crises and chronic malnutrition. Our highly effective treatment approach uses ready-to-use therapeutic food-a nutritious peanut butter-like paste-that enables most children to gain weight and recover without hospitalization. This cost-effective approach allows MSF to treat hundreds of thousands of malnourished children each year.
Most of the 20 million severely malnourished children in the world today do not have access to care that can save them from this preventable and treatable condition. Insufficient diets are a fact of everyday life for hundreds of millions of children. Malnutrition is not merely a result of too little food, it is a pathology stemming principally from a lack of essential nutrients that causes growth to falter, impacts physical and mental development & increases susceptibility to common diseases.
MSF's teams treat more than 300,000 children annually at more than 100 nutrition programs, mostly in Africa and Asia focusing on the most vulnerable populations, children under age three with severe acute malnutrition. Until 2005, MSF hospitalized these children in inpatient therapeutic feeding centers. Now, thanks to the advent of therapeutic ready-to-use food (RUF), MSF can treat the majority of malnourished children as outpatients and dramatically increases the number of patients treated.
Through combined efforts to implement innovative strategies to prevent malnutrition among the most vulnerable children during the hunger gap and provide effective treatment strategies, cure rates in most of MSF's nutrition projects exceed 90%. Our teams give thousands of children access to free, lifesaving treatment. And in some places, such as many parts of Somalia, MSF is the only international aid organization providing treatment making its programs all the more critical to saving lives.