UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF)
RUTF is a medical intervention to improve the nutritional consumption of children. With a special focus on Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). RUTF is a packaged paste of proteins, vitamins, calcium and mineral supplements. This paste can be given to children aged between six months and six years.
The Global Hunger Index report 2017 ranks India at 100 in a list of 119 countries. On the other hand, The National Family health survey- 4 found 35% were underweight and 38% were stunted in the target group.
“RUTF is safe, cost-effective and has saved hundreds of thousands of children’s lives.” – UNICEF
RUTF contains all nutrients needed for the recovery of such SAM children. This can be a practical solution to at least 2 million children outside the hospitals and medical facilities. On the other hand, with the aim of Make in India, it can make RUTF manufacturers streamline with the program and bring it on par with international quality standards as per the specifications of the UNICEF and WHO.
In India, Project POSHAN was implemented by National Health Mission 2015-16, which treated about 10,000 SAM children along the state of Rajasthan. Thus such examples prove various steps taken by the states proactively to address the needs of SAM children.
Henceforth the benefits of the RUTF need more intensive research. This can also bring in the development of guidelines and toolkit to counsel families on nutrition and feeding practices. In turn, it works as a soft power to educate the community on preventive measures against malnutrition and also about food culture, sanitation and gender disparity. Finally, Anganwadis can act as a connecting channel between the government health facilities and the target population. Nevertheless, this can be a potential program to mainstream country’s goal towards achieving the Sustainable development goal.