Fortified milk powder cures acute malnutrition
The essence of malnutrition treatment is to provide nutrients that are inadequate in the normal diet. This has led to a practice of providing ample amounts of many nutrients irrespective of local context and needs, as reflected in the composition of most food aid products. This untargeted approach increases costs, which create barriers to greater treatment coverage. For acute childhood malnutrition in the context of poor societies in sub-Saharan Africa without catastrophic drought or war, the missing nutrients are essential amino acids and micronutrients. This project aims better to match treatment with dietary deficiencies by combining powdered milk and micronutrients into a fortified milk powder (FMP) and tests its efficacy in both severe and moderate acute malnutrition in children.
By: Grith Mortensen
More than 80% of children with acute malnutrition worldwide do not receive treatment and as a result face risks such as infection, hospitalization, and death. Those who survive suffer from impaired cognitive development, reduced earning potential, and shorter lifespans. Treatment costs remain a stubborn barrier to greater coverage, and food aid products comprise most of these costs. More cost-effective and environmentally sustainable food aid products are needed.
The objective of this project is to develop and test two applications of a novel food aid product - fortified milk power (FMP). Two concurrent, randomized, controlled clinical trials will be conducted in rural Sierra Leone wherein fortified milk powder (FMP) will be used to treat severe and moderate malnutrition. These trials will provide evidence of the highest quality for the authorities and agencies that treat malnutrition to determine if FMP can routinely be used as a specialized nutritious food. A ration of FMP is 37 % the cost of a packet of ready-to-use therapeutic food, and a course of treatment for moderate acute malnutrition treatment with FMP is 28 % the cost of the current standard, SuperCereal Plus. If determined to have non-inferior efficacy, FMP will thus improve cost effectiveness and thereby break down a significant barrier to greater malnutrition treatment coverage.
The work will be undertaken by Project Peanut Butter, the premier clinical nutrition trials organization in Africa. The lean design of FMP leaves the smallest ecological footprint of any treatment strategy, while providing the best nutrients for the malnourished child. If the trials are successful, this would mean new applications for dairy globally within the international food aid community.
Project period: May 2023 - April 2025
Budget: 5,543,441 DKK
Financing: Danish Dairy Research Foundation, Project Peanut Butter
Project manager: Mark Manary
Institution: Project Peanut Butter
Participants: School of Medicine, Washington University
The results originating from the project will be published on this page when they become publicly available.