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Australia backs project to reduce child undernutrition 

The Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health of Australia is providing over US$700,000 from 2018-2021   to help reduce child malnutrition in target districts of Vientiane province.
A ceremony to ink an agreement on funding for the project was attended by the Director of the Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute under the Ministry of Health, Dr Sengchanh Kounnavong,   and a representative of the Macfarlane Burnet Institute, Dr Ben Coghlan, together with ministry officials.

The project will provide integrated solutions for children’s healthy birth, growth, and development. There will be a cluster-randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a mixed nutrition intervention package in reducing child malnutrition.
The study will last four years from 2018 to 2021. It will be funded by the National Medical and Research Council, Australian Government, through the Macfarlane Burnet Institute.
 Vientiane province was selected as the study site for the trial. It has 38 health centres serving 256 villages with a total population of 224,200 people in the six target districts of Kasi, Vangvieng, Feuang, Mad, Hinheub, and Meun.
They have been selected for the intervention arm of the project and will receive a package of nutrition-specific interventions in addition to standard primary health care services, and a control arm, which will receive only standard primary health care services.
The trial aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a mixed nutrition intervention of an integrated package of community-based nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions to provide evidence in reducing child under-nutrition in Laos.
Nutrition specific interventions are being applied in the hope of addressing some of the immediate determinants of fetal and child nutrition.
The interventions encompass exclusive breastfeeding promotion, complementary feeding, micronutrient supplementation and food fortification, maternal health and nutrition, dietary diversification, deforming treatment of severe wasting, and the management of infectious diseases.
In contrast, nutrition-sensitive interventions address the underlying determinants:  food security; social and care behaviours at maternal, household and community levels; and health environment and health services.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update
June 5,
2018


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