Child Malnutrition in Afghanistan Amid a Deepening Humanitarian Crisis

Rahmat, Zainab Syyeda, Hania Mansoor Rafi, Arsalan Nadeem, et al. International Health, September 2022
  • Nutrition in Humanitarian Contexts
Research Articles
Since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, more than 3.3 million children are unable to afford basic food resources and the majority of the population faces starvation. Restrictions on humanitarian assistance, the withholding of vital food supplies, and inadequate medical care exacerbate malnutrition among vulnerable children. Greater global engagement is critical.

Child Nutrition in Disaster: A Scoping Review

Adeoya, Akindele Abimibayo, Hiroyuki Sasaki, Mikiko Fuda, et al. The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, February 2022
  • Nutrition in Humanitarian Contexts
Research Articles
To ensure that children receive nutrition support in disaster to prevent malnutrition, this study recommends an explicit and well-coordinated approach that includes preparedness; advocacy; policy development; periodic nutritional assessments and nutritional support; and nutrition education for children, families, and aid workers. Research should examine food allergies in children and how nutrition impacts child mental health.

Child-Sensitive WASH Composite Score and the Nutritional Status in Cambodian Children

Manzoni, G., A. Laillou, C. Samnang, et al. Nutrients. September 2019. Vol. 11 No. 9
  • Nutrition and Health Systems
Research Articles
Despite progress in health over the years in Cambodia, the number of malnourished children remains high, which may be associated in part with poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices. To address gaps in knowledge on the association between WASH practices and the nutritional status of children, this study analyzed the relationship between WASH child-sensitive composite scores and the wasting child anthropometry indicators. The authors found a significant association, reinforcing existing knowledge of the need to align WASH and nutrition practices.

Childcare Solutions: Changing Fathers’ Attitudes and Involvement in Care and Early Childhood Education

World Bank Group, April 2021
Events
Incentivizing fathers’ involvement in child-bearing practices can help ensure that children get appropriate care and can help facilitate higher female labor force participation. Speakers discuss policy interventions to influence engagement through behavioral approaches. This is a webinar.

Children Born during the Hunger Season are at a Higher Risk of Severe Acute Malnutrition: Findings from a Guinea Sahelian Ecological Zone in Northern Ghana

Nonterah, Engelbert A., Paul Welaga, Samuel T. Chatio, et al. Maternal & Child Nutrition, January 2022
  • Nutrition in Humanitarian Contexts
Research Articles
Children born in the hunger season and with low birth weight are at higher risk of severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Being female and of the Nankam ethno-linguistic group also increased the odds of SAM. A sustainable food supply to pregnant and lactating women through improved agriculture or food system change targeting the hunger season may reduce SAM.

Children Living with Disabilities Are Neglected in Severe Malnutrition Protocols: A Guideline Review

Engl, Magdalena, Paul Binns, Indi Trehan, et al. BMJ Journals, February 2022
  • Early Childhood Development
Research Articles
Few international and national guidelines have detailed discussions of the specific needs of children living with disabilities, and only one mentioned strategies during nutritional emergencies. Interviews identified barriers related to medical complexity, resource constraints, epidemiology, and integration with existing guidelines and pointed to the need for better evidence to identify and integrate these children into nutrition programs.

CLA in the Time of COVID-19: Adapting, Pivoting and Partnering to Maintain Nutrition Progress

United States Agency for International Development Learning Lab, October 2020
  • Knowledge Management
Reports and Tools
The USAID framework for Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting supports partners to adapt during unanticipated challenges using real-time evidence. This blog post describes how USAID Advancing Nutrition used the CLA framework to create an internal COVID-19 task force and working groups that monitored and disseminated emerging information, synthesized best practices for virtual engagement, developed guidance for remote data collection, and helped project teams develop new skillsets to support quick pivots in operational and technical work in response to the pandemic.

The Climate Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis

UNICEF, August 2021
  • Early Childhood Development
Reports and Tools
The Children’s Climate Risk Index measures the likelihood that climate and environmental shocks or stresses will lead to the erosion of development progress, the deepening of deprivation, and humanitarian crises affecting children or vulnerable households and groups. The document is available in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish. The executive summary is available in Hausa, Portuguese, Somali, Swahili, and Yoruba.

Climate Crisis and Nutrition: Examples from Niger

USAID, November 2021
  • Knowledge Management
Reports and Tools
USAID Chief Nutritionist Shawn Baker describes the Wadata program, which provides hands-on training in natural resource management, nutrition, food preparation with local ingredients, financial literacy, and interpersonal communication. Priority issues for nutrition and climate change include accelerating action to safeguard and improve nutrition of mothers and children; supporting food systems actions that reduce environmental impact while protecting and improving access to safe, affordable, and nutritious food; and supporting climate policies that reduce inequities caused by climate change.

A Cluster-Randomized Trial to Test Sharing Histories as a Training Method for Community Health Workers in Peru

Altobelli, Laura C., José Cabrejos-Pita, Mary Penny, et al. Global Health: Science and Practice, December 2020
Research Articles
The Sharing Histories training method, whereby community health workers (CHWs) recount their own childbearing and childrearing experiences, improved CHW effectiveness with literate mothers in reducing stunting. Stunting among children of illiterate mothers may have involved unaddressed determinants of stunting. The abstract is available in Spanish.

Collecting Quality Anthropometric Data in the DHS Program

The Demographic and Health Surveys Program, May 2020
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
Reports and Tools
The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) Program has collected anthropometric (height and weight) data from children, women, and men for more than 30 years to help countries monitor and evaluate their progress in improving nutritional status. This blog provides an overview of the tools and processes DHS has developed to improve the collection of anthropometric data. It links to several studies and well-tested resources related to designing surveys using best practices for collecting anthropometric data, training fieldworkers to take accurate measurements, monitoring and improving anthropometric data in real-time, and communicating the quality of anthropometric data.   

Combined IYCF with Small-Quantity Lipid-based Nutrient Supplementation Is Associated with a Reduction in Anemia

Addo, O. Yaw, Lindsey M. Locks, Maria Elena Jefferds, et al. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 2020
  • Nutrition and Health Systems
Research Articles
Researchers analyzed data from 2,995 children after an intervention area received enhanced infant and young child feeding counseling and daily small-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplementation for infants 6–12 months and a control area received the standard counseling package without the nutrient supplementation. The study found that the enhanced counseling and nutrient supplementation intervention using the existing health care delivery platform was associated with a reduction in prevalence of anemia and improvement in mean hemoglobin. There was no impact on stunting, wasting, and underweight indicators in the intervention or control groups, but children in the intervention group receiving three or more months of the nutrient supplementation showed improvements in length-for-age and weight-for-age scores as well as hemoglobin.

Commonly Applied Social-Behavior Change Techniques Used in Complementary Feeding Programs in Low and Middle Income Countries: A Scoping Review

Webb, Girard A., E. Waugh, S. Sawyer, et al. Maternal and Child Nutrition. August 6, 2019
  • Nutrition and Health Systems
  • Social and Behavior Change and Gender
Research Articles
An examination of literature on complementary feeding interventions in lower- and middle-income countries since 2000, this scoping review considered 64 behavior change interventions. Across the interventions, authors identified 28 out of a possible 93 behavior change techniques (BCTs), estimating effectiveness ratios for each. Certain BCTs showed promise and warrant further evaluation. Reviewers called for further implementation science research around BCTs and more publically available intervention details on the use of BCTs to optimize and scale up complementary feeding interventions.

Community Health Workers in Humanitarian Settings: Scoping Review

Miller, Nathan P., Farid Bagheri Ardestani, Hannah Sarah Dini, et al. Journal of Global Health, December 2020
Research Articles
This wide-ranging review finds that community health workers (CHWs) often carry out critical emergency response activities but face security threats and psychological trauma. Community selection of CHWs is crucial for acceptance and high service utilization. Providing buffer stocks to CHWs, storing commodities in decentralized locations, addressing bottlenecks to CHW service delivery, and completing rigorous assessments of primary health care interventions are critical.

Comparing Costs and Cost‐Efficiency of Platforms for Micronutrient Powder (MNP) Delivery to Children in Rural Uganda

Schott, Whitney, Belinda Richardson, Emily Baker, et al. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, June 2021
Research Articles
While community-based micronutrient powder delivery costs are higher than facility-based delivery, they are more cost-efficient per child reached and produce better outcomes.

Compendium of Nutrition Intervention Coverage Indicators & Questions for Household Surveys

Data for Decisions to Expand Nutrition Transformation, August 2021
Reports and Tools
The document provides indicator definitions and accompanying questions for nutrition interventions across the maternal, newborn, and child health continuum of care.

A Complementary Feeding and Play Intervention Improves the Home Environment and Mental Development among Toddlers in Rural India

Fernandez Rao, Sylvia, Margaret E. Bentley, Nagalla Balakrishna, et al. Maternal & Child Nutrition, December 2020
Research Articles
A responsive complementary feeding and play intervention delivered through home visits benefits children's mental development and the caregiving environment. Mothers with a high school education can deliver behavior change communication if trained and supervised.

Complexity-Aware Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for Social and Behavior Change Interventions

CORE Group, June 2021
  • Social and Behavior Change and Gender
Reports and Tools
Contextual, temporal, and interpretive complexities impact most social and behavior change interventions. These complexity-aware tools include an advocacy brief; a core set of indicators related to collaborating, learning, and adapting; and a checklist to improve consistency and completeness of intervention documentation.

Comprehensive Nutrient Gap Assessment (CONGA): Micronutrient Gaps During the Complementary Feeding Period

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, UNICEF, March 2021
Reports and Tools
The Comprehensive Nutrient Gap Assessment tool identifies micronutrient gaps and provides guidance about how to use various types of evidence to assess the significance of nutrient gaps in a given population as well as the best sources of those nutrients.  This briefing series summarizes the results of CONGAs of the complementary feeding period in multiple countries in Eastern and Southern Africa and South Asia.

Conceptualising and Assessing Food Affordability

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, March 2022
  • Food Systems
Reports and Tools
Affordability measures should incorporate a portion of savings, include all income sources, and consider reallocating funds spent on less healthy foods to healthier foods. Introducing interventions to change perceptions about the values of foods, reducing the scarcity mindset, and enhancing access to financial institutions could improve nutritious food affordability.

Conceptualizing Sustainable Diets in Vietnam: Minimum Metrics and Potential Leverage Points

Mayton, Holly, Ty Beal, Julia Rubin, Alejandra Sanchez, et al. Journal of Food Policy, Vol. 91, February 2020
  • Food Systems
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
Research Articles
Addressing the need for clearly defined and agreed upon intervention points that can effectively enhance diet sustainability in low- and middle-income countries, the authors of this paper worked to develop a conceptual framework for sustainable diets in Vietnam. The framework outlines 235 unique indicators that fall within eight domains: (1) food production, (2) food processing and distribution, (3) food loss and waste, (4) food access and consumption, (5) food and water safety, (6) nutrition, (7) sociopolitical context, and (8) environmental impact. It also identifies key leverage points across sectors related to food quality, agricultural chemical usage, and food waste, among others. Note: This article is behind a paywall.

Conducting Formative Research on Adolescent Nutrition: Key Considerations

USAID, September 2021
  • Nutrition and Health Systems
Reports and Tools
Involving adolescents in designing programs and efforts to inform policy allows them to make decisions about their own well-being and ensures the applicability of results in communities. This guidance includes a list of participatory nutrition research methods and pretesting resources.

Connecting through Crises: Opportunities and Challenges in Strengthening Informal Support Networks

ResilienceLinks, October 2022
  • Capacity Strengthening
  • Food Systems
Events
The panel discussed research findings and explored how donors, policymakers, and practitioners can strengthen informal support networks to build resilience in communities vulnerable to crises.

Considerations for Monitoring School Health and Nutrition Programs

Schult, Linda, Julie Ruel-Bergeron. Frontiers in Public Health, July 2021
Research Articles
Authors provide an overview of how to select monitoring indicators across a school health and nutrition (SHN) program's logical framework and discuss how SHN programs must adapt when schools are closed.