MFK Celebrates First Shipment of Medika Mamba to Guatemala!
Meds & Food for Kids’ Facility in Cap Haitien, Haiti exports 40 MT of life-saving Medika Mamba to Guatelmala
“The government of Haiti and MFK work together to save lives in other countries”
According to recent numbers reported by the World Food Program, the chronic undernutrition rate for children under 5 in Guatemala is 49.8 percent, the highest in the region and the fourth highest in the world. Guatemala is one of the 36 countries which account for 90 percent of stunting in the world. Chronic undernutrition in indigenous areas is 69.5 percent. Fifty-three percent of the population lives in poverty, and 13 percent in extreme poverty.
Meds & Food for Kids, an organization dedicated to ending malnutrition and igniting economic development in Haiti successfully delivered the first of many planned exports of the Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, Medika Mamba to UNICEF in Guatemala.
In an agreement with UNICEF Global supply division, the first shipment, approximately 40,000 kg of Medika Mamba, will reach Guatemala this week. MFK has plans to export an additional 160 MT of Medika Mamba to Guatemala in 2014. This export uses excess capacity in MFK’s facility in Cap Haitien, Haiti, employing 42 Haitian people and buying from hundreds of local peanut farmers.
Dr. Patricia Wolff, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Washington University’s School of Medicine, founded Meds & Food for Kids in response to her frustration of watching malnourished Haitian children needlessly die 11 years ago. After visiting RUTF pioneer and Washington University colleague Dr. Mark Manary in Malawi, Dr. Wolff was inspired to transfer the best-practice therapy of RUTF to Haiti in 2003. Since then with the encouragement of the Haitian Ministry of Health and a partnership with Nutriset in France MFK has grown in expertise in food manufacturing.
Malnutrition at an early age leads to reduced physical and mental development for a person’s entire life. Stunting, for example, affects more than 147 million pre-schoolers in developing countries, according to SCN’s World Nutrition Situation 5th report. Recently, Guatemala stepped up efforts to combat malnutrition in their country, recognizing the devastating impact a high rate of chronic malnutrition would have on future development.
“What is happening in Guatemala right now is an important step in the right direction”, notes Dr. Wolff. “The first 1000 days of a child life are critical. In this period it is possible to prevent the largely irreversible damage that follows early childhood undernutrition.”
Dr. Patricia Wolff continued, “This is also an important part of the recent transformation of postharvest agricultural production capabilities in Haiti. It is a great source of pride for the MFK team. This export accomplishment is possible due to the cooperation of many, especially the Government of Haiti. This will be the first time that Haiti is a net exporter of ready to use therapeutic foods,” Dr. Wolff concluded, “a proud day for us all.”
“I remember the reaction of our staff when we told them we would begin to export our product. It means that we now have an opportunity to extend our value added elsewhere in the world and we are very proud that Haiti has become an exporter of these products”, noted Adele Bernard, Country Director for Meds & Food for Kids.
Meds & Food for Kids is a global supplier for UNICEF. MFK has already sold some 83 MT of product this year to the local UNICEF division to address the needs in Haiti and sold or donated another 56 MT of product to missionary groups, school and small NGOs. In 2013 MFK sold or donated over 514 MT of product, with key support from UNICEF, USAID and WFP.
For more information about Meds & Food for Kids, visit us online at www.mfkhaiti.org.
Download Release: Guatemala Press Release – MFK 8 14 14 V2