Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact
Number of Lives Saved - Since 2003, MFK and its partners have offered Medika Mamba to more than 12,000 malnourished children. With a new factory, over five years MFK will treat at least 50,000 children with 600,000 kilograms of its nationally produced RUTF.
Influencing Public Policy - Thanks in large part to MFK's advocacy, Haiti’s Ministry of Health has re-drafted its protocols for the treatment of child malnutrition to incorporate both MFK’s therapeutic procedures and RUTF.
Reinforcing Local Health Care Capacity - MFK's staff have trained over 100 doctors, nurses and community health agents in RUTF treatment.
Setting National Standards for Food Safety - MFK's factory is the only facility in Haiti to comply with international food safety standards, and hopes to participate in a national dialogue towards adopting such standards.
Establishing Best Practice Agriculture - MFK has worked with over 400 farmers, increasing yields, and is leading the effort to abate aflatoxin - a poison - in the food chain.
Exporting Development Model - We provide technical assistance to other emerging national producers in the developing world.
Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing
Nearly one quarter of Haitian children suffer from malnutrition (UNICEF); of these, over 120,000 have moderate or severe acute malnutrition (wasting). With weakened immune systems, these children are over 9 times as likely to die as their more healthy peers; and even if they survive, they will have lasting physical and cognitive damage from this developmental disease.
Malnutrition is not just a public health issue, but stems from unemployment and inefficient and insufficient agricultural production. Nearly 80% of Haitians have no job, and farmers only produce enough food to feed 55% of the population.
Moreover, agricultural production in Haiti is inefficient and low quality; specifically, peanuts are susceptible to aflatoxin contamination, which is a carcinogen and an immunosuppressant.
Traditional responses to these problems are merely rescue, Haiti needs long term sustainable indigenous solutions.
Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?
We make the most effective - in terms of both health outcomes and cost - treatment for childhood malnutrition. Instead of importing these products, we make them in Haiti, using Haitian labor, and, when possible, with Haitian agricultural raw materials.
We partner with public health services and other NGOs in order to introduce, mentor and sustain this best practice treatment throughout the country.
We partner with agricultural specialists to ensure that food supplies are toxin free, high quality and plentiful.
We mentor Haitian employees - mechanics, electricians, lab workers etc. - providing skill transfers towards a sustainable Haitian enterprise. Factors that may prevent success include:
• Lack of international funding and interest in RUTF treatment for childhood malnutrition.
• World food price increases rendering production conditions untenable.
• Civil unrest in Haiti disrupting supply chains.
Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible
MFK is already partly responsible for a paradigm shift in treating childhood malnutrition in Haiti, where new, evidenced-based best practice community-based care models have superseded higher cost and less successful inpatient feeding center programs. MFK's continued growth, increased capacity and stronger national presence will enable treatment of over 50,000 Haitian children over the next five years.
2009 - continue manufacturing at current maximum capacity, enabling treatment of over 6,000 Haitian children.
2009 - gain international food safety accreditation in current facility, to expand potential clients and markets.
2010 - complete a capital campaign for $3 million, and break ground on a new dedicated manufacturing facility.
2011 - start production in new facility, quadrupling production capacity, enabling more efficient production and hence more cost effective treatment
2011/12 - partner with public and private organizations to develop new products to prevent as well as treat malnutrition
If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?
MFK introduced RUTF into Haiti in 2003, and for many years was a pioneer in this globally endorsed treatment. Through close collaboration with the Haitian ministry of health, and then with international agencies present in Haiti, MFK helped formalize the adoption of RUTF into national protocols. Its future role will include ensuring that these life saving treatments are available to all eligible children.