COVID Response Spotlight: Sanku/Project Healthy Children
Masks made from flour sacks

COVID Response Spotlight: Sanku/Project Healthy Children

Besides the information shared below, Sanku-PHC was just featured in a New York Times piece: “In Africa, A Drive to End Malnutrition Meets COVID-19.”

In response to the current global pandemic, Sanku is ensuring that the two million people it reaches everyday continue to receive life-saving fortified flour during this crisis, while at the same time safeguarding the health of our 31 staff and 357 millers and their families. 

  • We mobilized a team equipped with the necessary protective gear to stock up over 300 of our partner millers with a multiple-month supply of empty flour bags and nutrient premix, necessary to continue fortifying their flour during this period. By doing so, and by outsourcing the actual deliveries of these goods to a local logistics company, we have eliminated our staff’s chances of being exposed. 
  • We deployed “Health Kits” to every single miller, packed with a generous supply of protective gloves, masks, medicated soap and hand sanitizer for all estimated 1000 mill staff across Tanzania. Sanku is determined to maintain improved health and hygiene for all our staff and millers, as well as for the essential food the millers produce for two million people every day who critically need strong immune systems at all times, but especially during this crisis.
    Making masks from empty flour bags.
  • Protective masks have run out in Tanzania, and new ones are not being imported at present as the government is concerned about potentially bringing in contaminated products. But we have a lot of empty flour bags from past millers that we no longer work with, which we have tested and made into masks . We have submitted these masks to the Tanzania Medicine & Medical Devices Authority last week, and expect to shortly receive a permit to mass produce. We have enough stock to make millions of  masks. It will cost about a $1 per mask for materials and labor. With sufficient support, we hope to be able to donate masks to hospitals, clinics and healthcare workers.
  • Because schools have shut down in Tanzania for the foreseeable future, millions of children have lost access to school feeding programs, which are often a child’s primary daily meal. To help address this crucial need:
    • We have partnered with USAID to launch an SMS campaign informing approximately 3000 families (~15,000 members) with general COVID health information, as well as informing them of the shops that are selling fortified flour in their area, representing roughly 80 schools.
    • In partnership, we are looking at the recent Rwanda model, where they are doing staggered school feeding programs, using the schools as distribution points where families can pick up fortified flour. We may pilot this in the Iringa Region of Tanzania, along with subsidising the millers’ flour and/or giving the schools dosifier machines, as some have small mills on campus.

To continue doing this, we desperately need capital now to build up inventory levels of flour bags and nutrient premix, and immediately purchase additional health kits for our millers and their families, as well as families of the school children now forced home due to school closures. If we are unable to do this, we would be depriving millions of the basic human right of nutrition and health safety. Our team is ready to do their part, but we need the support of our donors.

Support Sanku/PHC here

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Project Healthy Children

Project Healthy Children (PHC) is a recommended charity of The Life You Can Save. PHC partners with public and private health care initiatives to provide low-cost, effective food fortification programs to populations worldwide. PHC’s food fortification programs have been shown to reliably deliver micronutrients to community food supplies.

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The views expressed in blog posts are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Peter Singer or The Life You Can Save.