- Progress through partnership: Abbott and Partners In Health combine expertise in Haiti
- New facility produces therapeutic food to help address malnutrition
- Partnership builds local capacity and expands vocational training
- Agricultural program improves peanut cultivation and increases incomes for farmers
- Social enterprise provides a long-term solution for combating childhood malnutrition
New nutrition production facility in Haiti’s Central Plateau
An agricultural program trains approximately 300 farmers and creates 35 jobs
Medical treatment for malnourished children provided for free at PIH clinics
Fortified food product popular in Haiti, which will be sold to support plant operations
Malnutrition and lack of economic opportunity have plagued Haiti for many years.
Today, Partners In Health (PIH), Abbott and the Abbott Fund are combining their unique expertise and resources to create a sustainable approach to combating childhood malnutrition in rural Haiti. A newly constructed manufacturing facility is improving and expanding access to a life-saving nutritional product for thousands of Haitian children each year, while creating market opportunities for farmers. A new social enterprise also will help stimulate the local economy and support facility operations in the years ahead.
The result: a new model to help rebuild a stronger Haiti.
New Approaches Target Longstanding Challenges
Malnutrition is among Haiti’s most significant health threats. Nearly every child seen at PIH clinics suffers from some degree of malnutrition. Likewise, the lack of economic opportunity is pervasive. Together they create a vicious cycle.
To help address these challenges, PIH, Abbott and the Abbott Fund are working together to build local capacity and create long-term, impactful change in the Central Plateau, the poorest region in Haiti.
The hub of the $6.5 million effort is an 18,000-square-foot nutrition facility that is producing Nourimanba, a therapeutic food used to treat severe malnutrition in children. Nourimanba is distributed through PIH’s network of health facilities throughout rural Haiti, providing free, life-saving treatment to thousands of Haitian children.
In addition, excess production capacity at the facility will be used to produce a fortified peanut butter that can be sold in Haiti. Revenue from peanut butter sales will be reinvested in the facility to cover the costs of Nourimanba production, with the goal of creating a social enterprise that will be self-sustaining over the long term.
More than 50 Abbott experts in science, manufacturing, engineering, marketing and other technical knowledge areas oversaw the design and construction of the facility, developed and refined product formulations and created strategic operating plans. PIH’s expertise in healthcare and agriculture, and a deep understanding of Haitian communities, ensures the partnership meets local needs.
Expanding economic opportunity is a key focus of the partnership. Through the facility, PIH will produce food products locally, providing an example of how to encourage local production to reduce Haiti’s reliance on imported foods. A Haitian team manages operations, with extensive training by PIH and Abbott experts to transfer skills and build local capacity.
“Haiti needs self-sustaining institutions,” says Katherine Pickus, divisional vice president, Global Citizenship and Policy at Abbott. “We are focusing on creating a true local enterprise that is run by Haitians, for Haitians. The goal is to sustainably address malnutrition, while providing a model for driving economic opportunity.”
Growing a Vibrant Farming Sector
With Haiti’s rich agricultural history and ideal growing conditions in the Central Plateau, there is tremendous opportunity to expand local peanut cultivation – which will provide a reliable supply for the new facility.
In 2013, working together with PIH’s local partner organizations, Zanmi Lasante and Zanmi Agrikol, as well as the international nonprofit TechnoServe, the partnership piloted a new business supply chain model to expand the supply of quality, cost-competitive peanuts while boosting incomes for approximately 300 local smallholder farmers. These farmers acquired new skills and expertise in farming practices, and received financing for seeds, fertilizer and other supplies. In addition, 35 local residents were recruited and trained to provide services, such as tillage and harvest collection. Initial results indicate the effort has significantly improved crop quality, while increasing farmers’ incomes. Based on the success of the pilot, other partners are now replicating and expanding this model across Haiti, with the goal of improving farming practices and boosting income for farmers across the country.
“Haiti is actually a very rich country in terms of natural resources,” says Stenio Louis-Jeune, a PIH agronomist. “The PIH-Abbott partnership is showing Haitians how to use those natural resources to create real change in their country.”