Children under two are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, especially so during the annual lean season between November and February, when food supplies are stretched. In Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) province, children’s diets are generally poor, and they rarely consume protein and fat-rich foods – a major barrier to optimal physical and intellectual development.
Under Project Laser Beam, WFP is developing a specialised peanut-based ready-to-use supplementary food, using locally acceptable products, with support from GAIN and local partners. The product has recently been through acceptability tests in TTS district, which gave generally positive results.
RUSFs are particularly effective in poor communities as they come in user-friendly sachets, do not require preparation and are safely stored without refrigeration.
In NTT, approximately 49,000 children are affected by moderate acute malnutrition, and this new product is designed to allow a preventative approach, with particular targeting during the lean season. This would ensure child health and growth even within a food-insecure context, and create savings for the public health system.
The next step is to develop and test the product further, and then to produce it in Indonesia. Two companies have been identified as possible suppliers.
In parallel to product development, PLB is working with the government to develop a national standard for these products, as well as designing a social marketing campaign to support acceptance of the product.