Innovative Food Products Save Children in Emergencies: USAID Nutrition Advisor Judy Canahuati

Innovative Food Products Save Children in Emergencies: USAID Nutrition Advisor Judy Canahuati

October 4, 2019 2 By Ewald Bahringer


(drumming music playing) JUDY CANAHUATI:
Hi, my name is Judy Canahuati, [JUDY CANAHUATI]
[USAID MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH]
[NUTRITION, AND HIV ADVISOR]
and I’ve been working in maternal
child health and nutrition [JUDY CANAHUATI]
[USAID MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH]
[NUTRITION, AND HIV ADVISOR]
for over twenty years with USAID,
in different projects, and working in the Office of Food for Peace
for the last ten years, also in maternal child
health and nutrition. And I first learned about the
importance of nutrition, particularly in the first thousand
days of life, when I was very young and had first moved to Honduras.
We had a worker who came to me one day and said that his daughter
was in the hospital and could I visit her and
take her some eggs. And, I asked,
“What is she sick with?” And, he said, “She has measles.”
And I thought, “Why does she have to be hospitalized with measles?”
And I went to the hospital and spoke with the pediatrician
and he explained to me that when children were malnourished,
measles was a life-threatening disease. And, eventually, this little girl lost
the sight of one eye and developed a rheumatic heart as a result of it.
And that made…helped to make me really, really conscious of the importance
of nutrition and not just hunger. And it was really an interesting
experience to begin to work in the Office of Food for Peace
and to work on the same issues of maternal child health and
nutrition over the course of these last ten years.
And most recently, we’ve been working on the development
of products that are much more nutritious and they’re specialized food products.
This one, for example, is a full meal replacement.
This is a full day’s meal in a box, like that. We recently used it in the Philippines
and people liked it very much and it apparently served its purpose.
And we’ve also been developing some products for severely acutely
malnourished children and for moderately acutely malnourished
children that we’re using with UNICEF and with the
World Food Programme. And I’m here in Rome because
we’ve been having meetings for the last three days with both
UNICEF and the World Food Programme to work on harmonizing the
specifications and packaging and other aspects of the production
of these commodities. And we’ve begun to talk about
a new one which is a preventive, kind of a souped-up micro-nutrient
powder in an oil base that we’ve also used in Syria
as you can see from the writing on it, and it’s been a very interesting
experience for me. And I really would like to thank
USAID for having this opportunity.