In 2012, Dr. Manary and others embarked on an exploratory trip to Ghana to conduct an assessment of the need and feasibility of RUTF production. They found that roughly 30,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition in Ghana annually and that Ghana had a genuine need for a local producer of RUTF. In addition, Ghana Health Service, UNICEF, and USAID/FANTA were all strongly supportive of PPB’s goal to produce RUTF in Ghana.
In 2013, PPB employees located a warehouse in the city of Kumasi that could be renovated to serve as PPB’s latest factory. Luke Hostetter and Dietrich Alderfer directed the renovation of the building, and many local workers contributed their skills.
In mid-July 2014, the first RUTF sachet was successfully produced in the new production room during an initial test run. The team continued to prepare the factory for full-fledged production for many months, completing tasks such as registering the factory locally to produce food, securing utilities, and setting up a quality control system to ensure the food will be safe for malnourished children to consume.
In summer 2015, PPB Ghana began to produce a peanut-based school-feeding supplement called "Vivi" in partnership with the Hershey Co. Since October 2015, about 50,000 school children receive the school supplement daily. On July 7, 2015, PPB Ghana passed their first international inspection by Doctors Without Borders, qualifying them to produce RUTF for sale to the UN agencies.
PPB Ghana is still setting up feeding clinics and hopes to eventually treat 18,000 severely malnourished children with RUTF in Ghana annually. Check back for exciting news about this project.