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Action Against Hunger conducted a study on whether ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) should be added on the Essential Medicines list (EML) of WHO and on national lists. The study included a literature review, two country case studies (in Zimbabwe and Nigeria), a stakeholder mapping exercise as well as key informant interviews. The results are presented in this paper with arguments for and against placing RUTF on the EML.
Discussions on whether RUTF should be placed on the WHO Essential Medicines list (EML) began in 2009 and at a conference on ‘Government experiences of CMAM scale up’ in 2011, the question of adding RUTF to national EMLs was identified as critical. To date, there remains a general consensus that placing RUTF on the WHO and national lists of essential medicines could be a positive step but it’s limited due to the lack of available evidence.
Given this gap in evidence, Action Against Hunger began analysing the potential inclusion of RUTF on the WHO EML as well as national medicines lists. In order to obtain as much information as possible, Action Against Hunger conducted a literature review; two country case studies (in Zimbabwe and Nigeria); a stakeholder mapping exercise as well as interviews with key informants. Based on these processes, this paper aims to unpack some of the arguments for and against adding RUTF to the Essential Medicines List as well as the potential implications for doing so.