Reuters: It costs peanuts to fight child malnutrition in Haiti

For Haiti’s 300,000 or so children who face malnutrition, a high-calorie, high-protein paste, known as Nourimanba, could prove a lifesaver.

Made from peanuts, milk powder, vegetable oil, and sugar, Nourimanba is similar in taste and texture to peanut butter but with added vitamins and protein.

The medical charity, Partners in Health and U.S. healthcare giant Abbott Laboratories and Abbott Fund, the company’s charitable arm, opened a new factory in Haiti earlier this year, which aims to boost production of Nourimanba and reach thousands more undernourished children.

“Haiti is one of the hungriest countries on earth. It has very, very high rates of child malnutrition,” said Dr. Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer at Partners in Health, a U.S.-based nongovernmental organisation. “Malnutrition is the major underlying cause of death in children under 5 in Haiti and in other developing counties.”

In Haiti, nearly a quarter of children aged 6 to 59 months experience chronic malnutrition, according to UNICEF.

Three years in the making, the Nourimanba production plant got off the ground in July thanks to a $6.5 million donation from the Abbott Fund. So far the plant has churned out more than 6,000 kg of the nutritionally fortified peanut butter.

The factory stands in Haiti’s Central Plateau region, a rural area hit hard by child malnutrition where community health workers screen children for malnutrion by measuring their height and weight.

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