In March, GRET and the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) launched a study to prevent the various forms of malnutrition in young Malagasy children. The study will be conducted in twenty communes in the district of Amparafaravola, and will be carried out among 200 children that have been monitored since the age of six months, and will be completed in January 2020.
This work will be undertaken as part of the Food fortification for vulnerable populations project (PFOA) (in french) funded by the European Union, and will be conducted in collaboration with Antananarivo University.
All the stakeholders involved in the fight against malnutrition in Madagascar were present at the project launch on 12 March. It was the perfect opportunity to present the preliminary work carried out and the study’s strategic orientations.
What does the study consist of?
Complementary foods traditionally given to young children are often insufficient in terms of nutritional quality and quantities consumed are often too low. Recent studies conducted in the region confirmed this, demonstrating in particular a prevalence of small appetites among young children.
Based on this observation, the study will attempt to draw up recommendations for the promotion of fortified food products, and for encouraging mothers to adopt suitable practices in terms of child nutrition.
The 200 children monitored will benefit from a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activity pack, and will be divided into four groups. Group 1, which will serve as a comparison group, will only receive the WASH activities, while group 2 will also benefit from awareness-raising activities aiming to promote interactive feeding. Group 3 will receive a complementary food product fortified with vitamins and minerals, to be eaten once a day over the entire duration of the study. And group 4 will receive all the activities: WASH, awareness-raising and the fortified food product.
At the end of the study, prevalence of anaemia, deficiencies in micronutrients and delayed growth will be compared among the different groups. Every three months, the morbidity rate and the children’s levels of cognitive and motor development will be evaluated. In this way, the effectiveness of the integrated strategy to prevent the various forms of malnutrition will be measured. Ultimately, the results of the study and its findings will be shared with all nutrition stakeholders in Madagascar, with a view to publishing articles in scientific journals.
This article was produced with financial support from the European Union. Its content falls under the sole responsibility of GRET and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the European Union.