• Effectiveness of ready-to-use therapeutic food compared to a corn/soy-blend-based pre-mix for the treatment of childhood moderate acute malnutrition in Niger.

      Nackers, F; Broillet, F; Oumarou, D; Djibo, A; Gaboulaud, V; Guerin, P J; Rusch, B; Grais, R; Captier, V; Epicentre, Paris, France; Medecins San Frontieres, Switzerland; Ministry of Health, Niger; Hopital Avicenne, Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris, France (2010-03-23)
      Standard nutritional treatment of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) relies on fortified blended flours though their importance to treat this condition is a matter of discussion. With the newly introduced World Health Organization growth standards, more children at an early stage of malnutrition will be treated following the dietary protocols as for severe acute malnutrition, including ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). We compared the effectiveness of RUTF and a corn/soy-blend (CSB)-based pre-mix for the treatment of MAM in the supplementary feeding programmes (SFPs) supported by Médecins Sans Frontières, located in the Zinder region (south of Niger). Children measuring 65 to <110 cm, newly admitted with MAM [weight-for-height (WHM%) between 70% and <80% of the NCHS median] were randomly allocated to receive either RUTF (Plumpy'Nut®, 1000 kcal day(-1)) or a CSB pre-mix (1231 kcal day(-1)). Other interventions were similar in both groups (e.g. weekly family ration and ration at discharge). Children were followed weekly up to recovery (WHM% ≥ 85% for 2 consecutive weeks). In total, 215 children were recruited in the RUTF group and 236 children in the CSB pre-mix group with an overall recovery rate of 79.1 and 64.4%, respectively (p < 0.001). There was no evidence for a difference between death, defaulter and non-responder rates. More transfers to the inpatient Therapeutic Feeding Centre (I-TFC) were observed in the CSB pre-mix group (19.1%) compared to the RUTF group (9.3%) (p = 0.003). The average weight gain up to discharge was 1.08 g kg(-1) day(-1) higher in the RUTF group [95% confidence interval: 0.46-1.70] and the length of stay was 2 weeks shorter in the RUTF group (p < 0.001). For the treatment of childhood MAM in Niger, RUTF resulted in a higher weight gain, a higher recovery rate, a shorter length of stay and a lower transfer rate to the I-TFC compared to a CSB pre-mix. This might have important implications on the efficacy and the quality of SFPs.
    • Intra-household use and acceptability of Ready-to-Use-Supplementary-Foods distributed in Niger between July and December 2010.

      Cohuet, S; Marquer, C; Shepherd, S; Captier, V; Langendorf, C; Ale, F; Phelan, K; Manzo, M L; Grais, R; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011 Paris, France; (2012-12)
      Few studies have looked at consumption of Ready-to-Use-Supplementary-Foods (RUSFs) during a nutritional emergency. Here, we describe the use and acceptability of RUSF within households in four districts of the region of Maradi, Niger during large scale preventive distributions with RUSF in 2010 targeted at children 6-35months of age. Our study comprised both quantitative and qualitative components to collect detailed information and to allow in-depth interviews. We performed a cross-sectional survey in 16 villages between two monthly distributions of RUSF (October-November 2010). All households with at least one child who received RUSF were included and a total of 1842 caregivers were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Focus groups and individual interviews of 128 caregivers were conducted in eight of the selected villages. On average, 24.7% of households reported any sharing of RUSF within the household. Sharing practices outside the household remained rare. Most of the sharing reported occurred among children under 5years of age living in the household. On average, 91% of caregivers in all districts rated the child's appreciation of the products as good or very good. Program planning may need to explicitly accounting for the sharing of products among children under 5 within household.