Malnutrition in Haiti is the result of a combination of factors, most of which are not addressed by rescue operations and handouts. While the needs are great, a permanent, sustainable solution for Haiti is within reach. MFK’s four-pronged plan not only saves lives, but puts Haiti on the path to a stronger future.
First, we must treat malnourished children with our proven Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, Medika Mamba (“peanut butter medicine” in Haitian Creole).
Meds & Food for Kids is dedicated to saving the lives of Haiti’s malnourished children and other nutritionally vulnerable people. We do this by developing, producing, and distributing highly nutritious foods, including the gold-standard Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).
About Medika Mamba
Sometimes called miracle peanut butter, the Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) Medika Mamba is considered the “gold standard” for treating malnutrition by the World Health Organization. Miracle or medicine, no one can argue with the results. Children who enter treatment severely undernourished and underweight show great improvement in just six weeks.
Mothers, once in despair for their children, are empowered, encouraged and hopeful for the future once they see the bright eyes and strong limbs of their once fragile child.
What’s in Medika Mamba?
Medika Mamba is an RUTF made of ground roasted peanuts, powdered milk, cooking oil, sugar, vitamins and minerals.
How long does treatment take?
A typical treatment program for one child lasts 6-8 weeks and takes 25 pounds of Medika Mamba.
How effective is Medika Mamba?
Within six weeks of starting treatment, 90% of children on Medika Mamba recover, far better than the 25% survival rate with older, milk-based treatments.
How much does treatment cost?
$69 covers the cost of a full Medika Mamba treatment, saving the life of one child.
Simple Ingredients, Essential Nutrients
The mixture of peanut paste, powdered milk, oil, sugar, vitamins and minerals has a long shelf-life and does not require refrigeration. Because parents can take Medika Mamba home and give it to their children themselves, no long hospital stays are required. This eases the burden on already overwhelmed hospitals and allows parents to be at home taking care of other children and family members.
The results of Medika Mamba treatment are evident!
These four boys were admitted on the same day to the Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center, a facility that dispenses Medika Mamba.
Suffering from acute malnutrition, each of these children was at risk of dying.
After only six weeks of Medika Mamba treatment, the boys were transformed!
Each of the boys gained weight and became stronger and healthier.
MFK manufactures its products in a factory near Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. We employ Haitian workers, and, whenever possible, we purchase raw materials from Haitian farmers. To us, it’s the right – and smart – thing to do. While we are producing the life-saving treatment, we are also infusing the Haitian economy with much-needed jobs and creating a market for Haitian goods.
People are ready to work, but with few training programs and educational opportunities available, many are hindered by limited knowledge and outdated resources.
With very little industry in Haiti, there is little opportunity for formalized training and skill development. When Meds & Food for Kids can share knowledge and train workers in specific areas, not only are we meeting our need for people who can help us effectively implement our mission, we are building human capacity. The impact is then multiplied, whether through increased wages to support their families or through sharing their knowledge.
In addition to training our factory workers in necessary food safety, hygiene and maintenance skills, we also work with farmers to increase their productivity and provide education for health professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition using Medika Mamba.
Phito grew up with his aunt in a village near MFK’s new factory and dreamed of a better life for himself and his family. When MFK announced a job opening for a mechanical electrical technician, he jumped at the opportunity and tested higher than all other applicants on the required exam. Phito had never held a formal job, but quickly demonstrated an incredible aptitude for manufacturing and food safety.
Meds & Food for Kids sent Phito to Nutriset, a global supplier of RUTF, in France. He returned with an excellent understanding of MFK machines and processes, energized and ready to pass along his technical savvy to the rest of the MFK team. Since then, Phito has been one of MFK’s hardest working advocates.
Today, Phito is healthier and better able to move up in the world. In fact, with his steady paycheck, he has not only been able to invest in a car to get around more easily, but is currently taking English lessons to expand his skill set.
Nearly 2/3 of Haitians survive through subsistence farming, raising crops to feed their families.
When we purchase peanuts from a Haitian farmer, we are supporting his family by providing a market for his crops. MFK works with farmer groups in North and Central Haiti to improve the yield and quality of their peanuts (including aflatoxin control), while guaranteeing a sustainable market for their crops.
What do you get from an Acre?
Haitian peanut yields are about 1/5 those in the United States. A peanut farmer in Georgia can grow nearly 3,000 lb of peanuts on an acre; a Haitian farmer grows only 700 lb on the same amount of land.
- Meds & Food for Kids now purchases an increasing amount of peanuts annually from local farmers. MFK partners with and trains farmers in North and Central Haiti, instructing them in mechanization, soil preparation methods, seed and row spacing, fungicide and herbicide applications and more. MFK’s agriculture training program has helped some farmers increase their harvest profits by nearly 600%, while simultaneously decreasing production costs by as much as 75%.
On the road for more than half a day, a farmer pushed his wheelbarrow filled with peanuts. Headed to the farmer co-op depot sponsored by MFK, the farmer reflects on his life. Education and connections provided by MFK have enabled him to feed his family, provided the financial resources needed to send his children to school and have ensured his wife, who has been gravely ill, received the medical treatment she needs. The farmer has a renewed hope for the future – in large part because of the education and training he received from MFK.
MFK engages in research and development to test RUTF for use in the entire spectrum of nutritional deficiencies. Programs include prevention of malnutrition in infants, the supplementation of pregnant and lactating women and the development of a school snack, Vita Mamba.
In 2014, MFK installed a demonstration plot at our factory in Cap-Haïtien to test new seeds and interventions. Since then we have held irrigation and soil management seminars and begun testing a wide variety of aflatoxin-resistant peanuts.