NIGERIA – President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has inaugurated a ready to use therapeutic food (RUTF) processing factory in Kano.
RUFT is an energy-dense, mineral and vitamin-enriched food that requires no preparation and is specifically designed to treat malnutrition.
According to the business mogul, the initiative was his late brother’s vision which he has seen it to fruitification.
“I recall my late brother Sani telling me that he would start local production of RUTF in Kano to complement the Foundation’s efforts at fighting malnutrition in Nigeria. I am glad his vision has come to fruition today. He was a visionary leader and his legacy lives on.
“I commend the board and management of the company for the bold initiative of building this new and massive factory dedicated to the manufacturing of RUTF that will revolutionize the fight against hunger and rare acute malnutrition in Nigeria.
“Nigeria needs to end the scourge of this severe acute malnutrition and the establishment of this factory today takes us closer to that goal and I am sure we will achieve that very soon,” he said.
Malnutrition is one of the most serious development challenges, that could have a lifetime effect on a child.
“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), well-nourished children are 33 per cent more likely to escape poverty as adults.
“On the other hand, childhood malnutrition can lead to lifetime consequences including lower IQ, poor social-emotional skills and weaker immune system, so it is very important, it is not a joke,” added Dangote.
Putting the numbers into perspective, Unicef has divulged that Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children in the world, with a national prevalence rate of 32 percent of children under five.
An estimated 2 million children in Nigeria suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), but only two out of every 10 children affected is currently reached with treatment.
Further to that seven percent of women of childbearing age also suffer from acute malnutrition.
The States in northern Nigeria including Kano, are the most affected by the two forms of malnutrition i.e., stunting and wasting.
Dangote highlighted that the production of RUTF is one of the strategic achievements of the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), which is to reduce the number of lives listed to malnutrition and disease.
He also declared that combatting the plight of children is at the core of the ADF as a way of improving the lives of children using their investment in health, education and economic empowerment.
Strengthening the fight against the menace, Dangote has pledged to enter into agreements with governments and local producers of RUTF in order to guarantee adequate supply directly to primary healthcare centres that treat severe and acute malnutrition (SAM) on sustainable bases.