BOSTON and ABBOTT PARK, Ill., Jan. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Partners In Health (PIH) and Abbott (NYSE: ABT) and its philanthropic foundation, the Abbott Fund, today announced a partnership to empower Haitians to create local solutions to the longstanding problem of severe malnutrition in Haiti. Together, PIH and Abbott plan to build a nutritional food production facility that will allow Haitians to produce locally-sourced, high-quality nutritious food products. The initiative also aims to empower local communities by creating local markets, supporting local farms and promoting economic development. The total value of this multi-year initiative is estimated at more than $6.5 million, including contributions from Abbott and the Abbott Fund, and the estimated value of ongoing expert consulting provided by Abbott employees.
"This ambitious partnership between PIH, Abbott and the Abbott Fund will help to address severe malnutrition in Haiti, while also serving as an example of how partnerships can help to provide economic empowerment for local communities," said Paul Farmer, co-founder of PIH. "PIH and Abbott experts are working shoulder to shoulder with Haitian farmers and community health workers to create local, sustainable solutions to treat malnutrition in children. By sharing the collective expertise and resources of business, non-profit organizations and civil society, we can help the people of Haiti build back better."
Production Facility to Meet Local Needs in Haiti
The new PIH nutritional production facility will be located near PIH's main hospital in Cange in Haiti's central plateau region. The facility initially will be focused on producing Nourimanba, PIH's nutritious, peanut-based, ready-to-use therapeutic food product, to treat severe childhood malnutrition. In the future, the new facility also could empower Haitians to develop and sell non-medical nutritional foods like peanut butter to support the continued production and free distribution of Nourimanba by PIH. The facility, which is expected to break ground in mid-2011 and begin operations in early 2012, will be equipped with rugged, low-maintenance equipment suited to operations in Haiti.
Hiring and Training Locally for Sustainability
The new facility will be constructed by local workers. Abbott experts in nutrition science, engineering, quality and manufacturing will join PIH staff in supporting all aspects of the project, including design and construction of the facility, product quality and safety, and expansion of production capabilities.
When completed, the facility will be able to employ up to 60 Haitians to handle production. The initiative also will help expand agricultural development in the region by working with hundreds of local farmers to source peanuts, the main ingredient in Nourimanba. PIH and Abbott experts will conduct extensive training to build local capabilities and develop the skills of local workers to ensure long-term sustainability.
Nourimanba to Help Address Severe Malnutrition in Haiti
Haiti is the Western Hemisphere's poorest country, which has resulted in pervasive malnutrition. Even prior to the earthquake in January 2010, one in three Haitian children under the age of five suffered from malnutrition. Today, thousands more are at risk of malnutrition as a result of the devastation from the earthquake. Malnourished children are five-to-eight times more likely to die from diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia and measles than are well-nourished children.
Nourimanba is a ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) produced by Partners In Health. The World Health Organization recommends RUTFs for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition. Nourimanba is a high-calorie, high-protein, fortified peanut-based paste that is ready to eat by the patient and does not require mixing with water or refrigeration. RUTFs like Nourimanba can be given to children at home rather than in a hospital, avoiding the cost and complexity of in-patient treatment.
Innovative New Approach to Partnership
Going beyond traditional philanthropy, the PIH-Abbott partnership combines the unique expertise and resources of a non-profit organization and a for-profit business to empower local communities. The partnership is strongly focused on long-term sustainability, by empowering local communities and creating sustainable, market-based solutions through the future development and sale of locally appropriate, non-medical nutrition products by PIH.
"Severe childhood malnutrition is a complex problem in Haiti that demands innovative, local solutions," said Katherine Pickus, vice president, the Abbott Fund, and divisional vice president, Global Citizenship and Policy, Abbott. "As a longstanding leader in strengthening local communities in Haiti, Partners in Health has demonstrated a strong commitment to pioneering new approaches. Abbott and the Abbott Fund look forward to working together with Partners In Health to build a new nutrition production facility, train local staff and empower local communities to develop long-term solutions to malnutrition in Haiti."
The new initiative in Haiti is an extension of an ongoing partnership between PIH, Abbott and the Abbott Fund to expand access to health care in developing countries. Projects are addressing critical community needs in Haiti and countries in Africa, including establishing a women's health clinic in Lascahobas, Haiti, and building a rural hospital in Lisungwi, Malawi.
The new initiative in Haiti also builds on Abbott's existing philanthropic partnerships to expand access to health care in Haiti. Since 2007, Abbott and the Abbott Fund have provided more than $48 million in grants and product donations to help address health needs in Haiti, including maternal and child health, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and malnutrition. In addition, Abbott and the Abbott Fund provided more than $6 million to support relief efforts following the devastating earthquake in January 2010. Most recently, Abbott has provided grant funding and donations through trusted humanitarian partners to help address the cholera outbreak in central Haiti.
About Partners In Health
Partners In Health (PIH) works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had 4,400 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake. Visit www.pih.org for more information.
About Abbott and the Abbott Fund
Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs nearly 90,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's website at http://www.abbott.com.
The Abbott Fund is a philanthropic foundation established by Abbott in 1951. The Abbott Fund's mission is to create healthier global communities by investing in creative ideas that promote science, expand access to health care and strengthen communities worldwide. For more information on the Abbott Fund, visit http://www.abbottfund.org.
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