There is a Haitian proverb that states, “Beyond mountains, there are mountains.” Despite having the most malnourished children in the Western Hemisphere, Paul Farmer, one of the founders of Partners in Health (PIH) says this proverb means that opportunities for Haiti, rather than crises, are inexhaustible. Since its founding in Haiti in 1987, PIH has been at the forefront of stopping preventable deaths, like malnutrition, from occurring. Between Plumpy’nut®, Supplementary’Plumpy®, Plumpy’doz®, Nutributter®, and Medika Mamba, it seems that the variations on Plumpy products are becoming inexhaustible as well! Haiti’s Nourimanba should also be added to the list of lifesaving ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF).
Nourimanba, a peanut butter-based RUTF, was created out of a partnership with Meds & Foods for Kids and PIH’s community-based health program Zanmi Lasante (“Partners in Health” in Haitian Kreyol) in 2006. Zanmi Lasante’s Nourimanba is modeled after Médecins Sans Frontières and Valid International’s malnutrition treatment model, which allows parents to feed their children the RUTF at home. Like Plumpy’nut, Nourimanba requires no preparation and is made from peanut butter, milk powder, vegetable oil, sugar, and a vitamin mix. Since Nourimanba’s implementation, Zanmi Lasante has been able to treat severely malnourished children in 6-8 weeks, thus decreasing the overall incidence of hospital-based treatment and mortality due to malnutrition.
Zanmi Lasante also treats children with a milled legume/grain mixture called Nourimil. Nourimil, like Supplementary’Plumpy®, is a supplemental therapeutic food used for children with moderate malnutrition. However, Nourimil is prepared at home using rice or corn and beans.
Not only are these products saving the lives of young Haitian children, but they are also helping boost the Haitian economy. All ingredients are grown and produced locally, thus helping keep Haitians employed. As of last June, over 90 employees worked at Nourimanba production facilities, nutrition clinics, and farms and over 100 farmers now grow peanuts used to make Nourimanba. Since 2009, over 5,000 malnourished children have been treated by PIH!
For more information, visit Partners in Health’s Zanmi Agrikol project page: