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Meds and Food for Kids

Meds and Food for Kids was founded in 2004 by Patricia B. Wolff, MD, a pediatrician in private practice in St. Louis, Missouri and an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine. MFK works to combat childhood malnutrition and related diseases in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. We use an exciting new peanut-based feeding approach called Ready-to-Use Therapeutic food (RUTF). RUTF brings malnourished children back from the brink of death, and currently MFK is the only organization working to combat malnutrition in Haiti through RUTF.


Haitians struggle daily for food

In the impoverished country of Haiti, toddlers are the losers in a family's daily struggle to feed everyone. One-quarter of children ages 1 to 3 are dangerously malnourished. They are caught in the middle as older siblings grab what little there is to eat, and infants survive on breast milk. Malnourished children soon become lethargic, their bodies bloat, and their hair turns orange due to trace mineral deficiency. Malaria or pneumonia may invade their weakened immune systems.

Alive at five

Meds & Food for Kids uses Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to reduce childhood mortality from malnutrition. RUTF is a mixture of peanut butter, powdered milk, sugar, oil, vitamins, and minerals. Unlike hospital-based malnutrition treatment, RUTF is used at home. A mother can give her child spoonfuls of the food, which requires no cooking or preparation, amid her other tasks. Since this is not traditional food, siblings may taste it but do not take it for themselves, leaving the toddler with her own meal.

Ready-to-Use therapeutic food

Until recently, childhood malnutrition in developing countries was addressed with hunger relief efforts - giving beans, rice and corn to feed an entire family. Although hunger relief is essential in poor countries where food shortages persist, this tactic alone has not had a lasting impact on childhood malnutrition and long-term health. The Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) that we use in Haiti effectively treats severe malnutrition. RUTF is nutritious, it is ready to eat without cooking, and does not require refrigeration. RUTF can be stored safely for up to eight months, even at tropical temperatures.


Meds & Food for Kids is an all-volunteer organization. All funds go directly to providing food and medical supplies for Haitian children. In addition to individual donations, the organization received a $25,000 award from the Skandalaris Center in 2006.[1]

See also


  • Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Washington University, School of Business
  • Outlook: Medicine in Haiti, Washington University School of Medicine, Summer 2004
  • World Bank Development Marketplace
  • Daniel O'Malley, "Medika Mamba," West End Word, June 7, 2006
  • "Reversing Malnutrition a Spoonful at a Time," Washington University School of Medicine
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Meds_and_Food_for_Kids". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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