Tuesday, 16 December 2008

New Solutions in Haiti

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CTI volunteer and Technology Committee Chair, Erv Lentz, has solved a major problem for Dr. Pat Wolff of Meds and Food for Kids in Haiti.  Dr. Wolff uses our Omega VI grinder to create Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for children in Haiti who are suffering from severe malnutrition.  She creates RUTF by first grinding peanuts into paste, then passing the peanut paste through a separate Omega VI with added oil, powdered milk, sugar, and vitamins and minerals.  This “medika mamba” (the translation is “peanut butter medicine”) became syrupy and tended to run out the clearance hole for the shaft in the rear of the hopper.  While this leakage was a housekeeping problem for Dr. Wolff’s operation, it was also inhibiting her from securing approval from UNICEF to expand her operation, so she approached CTI for a solution.

After much research, Erv was able to find a stock die and food grade silicon-rubber sealant for adhering the seal to the hopper wall (see photo).  It works so well it maintained a seal after being run constantly for over a week.  (That’s 2.5 million revolutions on the shaft!)  This rubber seal is low-cost and was sent down to Haiti and adhered to Dr. Wolff’s Omega VI grinders.  CTI volunteer George Farrell reports that the seals were easy to adhere to the grinders and, although he was concerned they would come off when the grinders were cleaned, they have stuck very well and the leakage has stopped!
Dr. Wolff now looks forward to approval of her operation from UNICEF.  Approval may mean that a lot more children will have access to the life-saving Ready to Use Therapeutic Food and many more CTI grinders will be used.  This is another great example of how our volunteers are continually creating simple technical solutions with life-saving results!  Great work Erv!  (To read a recent CNN.com article that mentions Dr. Wolff, follow this link: As Children Starve, World Struggles for Solution.)

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