St. Louisan teaching people in Haiti peanuts can save lives

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(KTVI)-- A picture might be worth a thousand words, but Dr. Patricia Wolff has a story that might leave you speechless.

"So those are the same kids six weeks later," says Dr. Patricia Wolff, the founder of Meds & Food for Kids.  "All they ate was Medika Mamba which is peanuts, powdered milk, sugar, oil, vitamins and minerals."

The ingredients are simple, but not the solution.

That's why Wolff, a professor of pediatrics at Washington University's School of Medicine founded Meds and Food for Kids after a visit to Haiti 25 years ago.

"We started out rescuing babies from death and brain damage from malnutrition," says Wolff.  "After a few years of doing that we started asking ourselves, "Wouldn't it be so much better to do this in a big way."

So her nonprofit organization developed and began distributing what the world health organization calls the gold standard for treating malnutrition.

These pocket sized packets called Medika Mamba, Plumpy Sup and RUTF for ready to use therapeutic food, have been saving lives.

"Want to try it?" asks Wolff.

"Sure," says Patrick Clark.

"Not allergic to peanuts are you?" asks Wolff.

Her peanut panacea is now partnering with President Bill Clinton and his Clinton Giustra foundation to begin offering a helping hand, but this time from within Haiti.

"Ready to use therapeutic food, plumpy nut Medika Mamba and ship it to Guatemala, another country that also suffers from severe childhood malnutrition," says Wolff.

Since it began Meds and Food for Kids have trained more than 1,300 farmers on how to successfully grow and harvest peanuts in the north of Haiti.

"I think you would stop at the scene of an accident, right and do what you could do," says Wolff.  "Well that's exactly how I felt 25 years ago that if you could do something you should do something."