Approximately twenty million children under the age of five currently suffer from severe acute malnutrition. Despite significant efforts to mitigate these chronic conditions through the provision of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), supply chain deficiencies remain consistent obstacles between bio-available nutrients and starving children. Team Praescient understands that it is a large undertaking to tackle the massive problem of world hunger, and recognizes that by working collaboratively with stakeholders, researchers, and problem solvers we can improve the logistical cycle of hunger donations in order to make a difference in children’s lives.
In May of 2009, the United Nation’s Children Fund, known as UNICEF, which focuses on areas such as child survival and development, basic education, child protection, and disease, commissioned Duke University, home of the Sanford Institute of Public Policy, and the University of North Carolina (UNC), led by Project Team members from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, to jointly identify and assess the inefficiencies of the RUTF supply chain in the Horn of Africa.
“In May 2007, leading international agencies…signaled a shift from hospital-based to community-based treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) with ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). Demand for RUTF…more than doubled in the year following. Production capacity of RUTF also increased, but at times has not been able to keep pace with rising demand. An effective and efficient supply chain for RUTF will be critical in the fight against malnutrition and the achievement of the [United Nation’s] Millennium Development Goals with respect to child mortality.”
- Diversify the supplier base to better serve global needs (89).
- Improve information flow through increased transparency and new information communication mechanisms (90).
- Improve data quality for assessments of forecasted need for RUTF (92).
- Collaborations among agencies could improve the delivery of nutrition programs (95).
Team Praescient leverages advanced analytic methodologies and technologies that rapidly integrates large data sets used by Duke and UNC. This proven process produces quality and quantifiable results in mere hours rather than years. Through the analysis of supply site interoperability and RUTF shipment lead times, analysts can easily identify crucial chokepoint attributes in the Horn of Africa, thus empowering decision makers with timely and accurate information critical to targeting structural inefficiencies and provisioning supplies.
In light of the United Nation’s Nutrition Strategy to end malnutrition by 2013, for example in the countries of Somalia, Uganda, Niger, Cameroon and Ghana, advanced analysis projects need to continue in order to assist in the creation of a system of rapid iteration and cull the rate of death due to famine. Team Praescient is continuing to think about and research this phenomenon, and strives to add perspective and contribute through analytic insight.