evidence-based blog of Filippo Dibari

How ready-to-use therapeutic food shapes a new technological regime to treat child malnutrition

In Under-nutrition on August 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm

by José Guimón and Pablo Guimón

from Technological Forecasting and Social Change; Volume 79, Issue 7, September 2012, Pages 1319–1327


Since the turn of the 21st century ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) has emerged as the preferred solution to treat acute malnutrition without complications. RUTF is a more appropriate technology than formerly prevalent powdered milk solutions because it enables outpatient care, simpler treatment protocols and production in the field. In this paper we analyze the forces driving the diffusion of RUTF as an innovation to treat child malnutrition and discuss the main features characterizing the new technological regime that results from its wide adoption. We combine the theoretical discussion and the review of secondary sources with insights from field research in Ethiopia, encompassing personal interviews with relevant parties and direct observation of how RUTF works in practice. This technology assessment exercise enables us to suggest some opportunities for policy intervention.

Another less recent version of the same paper is available here.

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