• Admission Profile and Discharge Outcomes for Infants Aged Less than 6 Months Admitted to Inpatient Therapeutic Care in 10 Countries. A Secondary Data Analysis

      Grijalva-Eternod, CS; Kerac, M; McGrath, M; Wilkinson, C; Hirsch, JC; Delchevalerie, P; Seal, AJ (Wiley-Blackwell We regret that this article is behind a paywall., 2016-07-25)
      Evidence on the management of acute malnutrition in infants aged less than 6 months (infants <6mo) is scarce. To understand outcomes using current protocols, we analysed a sample of 24 045 children aged 0-60 months from 21 datasets of inpatient therapeutic care programmes in 10 countries. We compared the proportion of admissions, the anthropometric profile at admission and the discharge outcomes between infants <6mo and children aged 6-60 months (older children). Infants <6mo accounted for 12% of admissions. The quality of anthropometric data at admission was more problematic in infants <6mo than in older children with a greater proportion of missing data (a 6.9 percentage point difference for length values, 95% CI: 6.0; 7.9, P < 0.01), anthropometric measures that could not be converted to indices (a 15.6 percentage point difference for weight-for-length z-score values, 95% CI: 14.3; 16.9, P < 0.01) and anthropometric indices that were flagged as outliers (a 2.7 percentage point difference for any anthropometric index being flagged as an outlier, 95% CI: 1.7; 3.8, P < 0.01). A high proportion of both infants <6mo and older children were discharged as recovered. Infants <6mo showed a greater risk of death during treatment (risk ratio 1.30, 95% CI: 1.09; 1.56, P < 0.01). Infants <6mo represent an important proportion of admissions to therapeutic feeding programmes, and there are crucial challenges associated with their care. Systematic compilation and analysis of routine data for infants <6mo is necessary for monitoring programme performance and should be promoted as a tool to monitor the impact of new guidelines on care.
    • Cost analysis of the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in West Africa

      Isanaka, S; Menzies, NA; Sayyad, J; Ayoola, M; Grais, RFF; Doyon, S (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016-12-05)
      We present an updated cost analysis to provide new estimates of the cost of providing community-based treatment for severe acute malnutrition, including expenditure shares for major cost categories. We calculated total and per child costs from a provider perspective. We categorized costs into three main activities (outpatient treatment, inpatient treatment, and management/administration) and four cost categories within each activity (personnel; therapeutic food; medical supplies; and infrastructure and logistical support). For each category, total costs were calculated by multiplying input quantities expended in the Médecins Sans Frontières nutrition program in Niger during a 12-month study period by 2015 input prices. All children received outpatient treatment, with 43% also receiving inpatient treatment. In this large, well-established program, the average cost per child treated was €148.86, with outpatient and inpatient treatment costs of €75.50 and €134.57 per child, respectively. Therapeutic food (44%, €32.98 per child) and personnel (35%, €26.70 per child) dominated outpatient costs, while personnel (56%, €75.47 per child) dominated in the cost of inpatient care. Sensitivity analyses suggested lowering prices of medical treatments, and therapeutic food had limited effect on total costs per child, while increasing program size and decreasing use of expatriate staff support reduced total costs per child substantially. Updated estimates of severe acute malnutrition treatment cost are substantially lower than previously published values, and important cost savings may be possible with increases in coverage/program size and integration into national health programs. These updated estimates can be used to suggest approaches to improve efficiency and inform national-level resource allocation.
    • Determinants of dietary practices during pregnancy: A longitudinal qualitative study in Niger

      Rosen, JG; Clermont, A; Kodish, SR; Seck, AM; Salifou, A; Grais, RFF; Isanaka, S (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018-06-28)
      Undernutrition is associated with maternal morbidity and poor pregnancy outcomes. This qualitative study seeks to understand the multilevel factors influencing maternal dietary practices in Niger, including the impact of pregnancy illnesses on diet. Criterion-based, purposive sampling was used to select pregnant women and household members from 24 villages in a rural district of the Maradi Region in south-central Niger. Semistructured interviews (n = 153) and focus group discussions (n = 38) explored 4 primary themes: (a) perceptions of ideal diet during pregnancy, (b) barriers to consuming the ideal diet, (c) coping strategies including dietary responses related to pregnancy illnesses, and (d) changes in perceptions from early to late pregnancy. Longitudinal data collection allowed for repeated interviews of pregnant women to document changes in dietary practices throughout pregnancy. Transcripts were coded using an inductive approach informed by grounded theory methodology. Participants categorized foods into 4 primary dietary taxonomies when discussing ideal maternal diets but cited constraints related to accessibility and availability impeding routine consumption of these foods. Perceptions of "modern," urban foods as healthy, coupled with key structural barriers such as food costs, were identified. Maternal morbidity influenced food consumption, as women reported reducing food intake early in pregnancy in response to illness episodes. Although awareness of optimal foods for supporting healthy pregnancies was moderately high, some misconceptions were observed and multilevel barriers to food security restricted opportunities for consuming these foods. Nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions could improve access and availability of acceptable foods for supporting increased dietary intake during pregnancy.
    • Effect of Ready-to-Use Foods for Preventing Child Undernutrition in Niger: Analysis of a Prospective Intervention Study Over 15 Months of Follow-Up

      Prudhon, C; Langendorf, C; Roederer, T; Doyon, S; Mamaty, AA; Woi-Messe, L; Manzo, ML; de Pee, S; Grais, RFF (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016-01-17)
      Strategies for preventing undernutrition comprise a range of interventions, including education, provision of complementary food and cash transfer. Here, we compared monthly distributions of two different lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS), large-quantity LNS (LNS-LQ) and medium-quantity LNS (LNS-MQ) for 15 months on prevention of undernutrition among children 6 to 23 months. Both groups also received cash transfer for the first 5 months of the intervention. We conducted a prospective intervention study in Maradi, Niger, between August 2011 and October 2012. Six and 11 villages were randomly allocated to LNS-LQ/Cash and LNS-MQ/Cash, respectively. Children measuring 60-80 cm were enrolled in the respective groups and followed up monthly. Poisson regression was used to assess differences between interventions and adjust for baseline characteristics, intervention periods and child-feeding practices. The analysis included 2586 children (1081 in the LNS-LQ/Cash group and 1505 in the LNS-MQ/Cash group). This study suggests that provision of LNS-LQ (reference) or LNS-MQ had, overall, similar effect on incidence of severe acute malnutrition (RR = 0.97; 95% CI: 0.67-1.40; P = 0.88), moderate acute malnutrition (RR = 1.20; 95% CI: 0.97-1.48; P = 0.08), severe stunting (RR = 0.94; 95% CI: 0.70-1.26; P = 0.69), moderate stunting (RR = 0.95; 95% CI: 0.76-1.19; P = 0.67) and mortality (RR = 0.83; 95% CI: 0.41-1.65; P = 0.59). Compared with LNS-LQ, LNS-MQ showed a greater protective effect on moderate acute malnutrition among children with good dietary adequacy: RR = 0.72; 95% CI: 0.56-0.94; P = 0.01. These results highlight the need to design context-specific programmes. Provision of LNS-LQ might be more appropriate when food insecurity is high, while when food security is better, distribution of LNS-MQ might be more appropriate.
    • Energy needs in the treatment of uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition: Secondary analysis to optimize delivery of ready-to-use therapeutic foods

      Isanaka, S; Andersen, CT; Hanson, KE; Berthé, F; Grais, RFF; Briend, A (Wiley, 2020-03-07)
      Outpatient therapeutic feeding protocols for the treatment of uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition in children were initially based on weight gain data from inpatient settings and expert knowledge of the physiological requirements during recovery. However, weight gain and energy requirements from historic inpatient settings may differ from modern outpatient settings and therefore may not be appropriate to guide current therapeutic feeding protocols. We calculated the weight gain and average estimated total daily energy requirement of children successfully treated for uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition as outpatients in Niger (n = 790). Mean energy provided by six therapeutic feeding protocols was calculated and compared with average estimated energy requirements in the study population. Overall weight gain was 5.5 g·kg-1 ·day-1 among recovered children. Average energy requirements ranged from 92 to 110 kcal·kg-1 ·day-1 depending on the estimation approach. Two current therapeutic feeding protocols were found to provide an excess of energy after the first week of treatment in our study population, whereas four research protocols tended to provide less energy than the estimated requirement after the first week of treatment. Alternative feeding protocols have the potential to simplify and lead to important savings for programmes but should be evaluated to show adequacy to meet the energy needs of children under treatment, as well as feasibility and cost efficiency. Our findings rely on theoretical calculations based on several assumptions and should be confirmed in field studies.
    • Feasibility of engaging caregivers in at-home surveillance of children with uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition

      Isanaka, S; Berthe, F; Nackers, F; Tang, K; Hanson, KE; Grais, RFF (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2019-01-23)
      Many factors can contribute to low coverage of treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM), and a limited number of health facilities and trained personnel can constrain the number of children that receive treatment. Alternative models of care that shift the responsibility for routine clinical and anthropometric surveillance from the health facility to the household could reduce the burden of care associated with frequent facility‐based visits for both healthcare providers and caregivers. To assess the feasibility of shifting clinical surveillance to caregivers in the outpatient management of SAM, we conducted a pilot study to assess caregivers' understanding and retention of key concepts related to the surveillance of clinical danger signs and anthropometric measurement over a 28‐day period. At the time of a child's admission to nutritional treatment, a study nurse provided a short training to groups of caregivers on two topics: (a) clinical danger signs in children with SAM that warrant facility‐based care and (b) methods to measure and monitor their child's mid‐upper arm circumference. Caregiver understanding was assessed using standardized questionnaires before training, immediately after training, and 28 days after training. Knowledge of most clinical danger signs (e.g., convulsions, edema, poor appetite, respiratory distress, and lethargy) was low (0–45%) before training but increased immediately after and was retained 28 days after training. Agreement between nurse–caregiver mid‐upper arm circumference colour classifications was 77% (98/128) immediately after training and 80% after 28 days. These findings lend preliminary support to pursue further study of alternative models of care that allow for greater engagement of caregivers in the clinical and anthropometric surveillance of children with SAM.
    • Feasibility of engaging caregivers in at‐home surveillance of children with uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition

      Isanaka, S; Berthe, F; Nackers, F; Tang, K; Hanson, KE; Grais, RFF (John Wiley & Sons, 2019-07-23)
      Many factors can contribute to low coverage of treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM), and a limited number of health facilities and trained personnel can constrain the number of children that receive treatment. Alternative models of care that shift the responsibility for routine clinical and anthropometric surveillance from the health facility to the household could reduce the burden of care associated with frequent facility-based visits for both healthcare providers and caregivers. To assess the feasibility of shifting clinical surveillance to caregivers in the outpatient management of SAM, we conducted a pilot study to assess caregivers' understanding and retention of key concepts related to the surveillance of clinical danger signs and anthropometric measurement over a 28-day period. At the time of a child's admission to nutritional treatment, a study nurse provided a short training to groups of caregivers on two topics: (a) clinical danger signs in children with SAM that warrant facility-based care and (b) methods to measure and monitor their child's mid-upper arm circumference. Caregiver understanding was assessed using standardized questionnaires before training, immediately after training, and 28 days after training. Knowledge of most clinical danger signs (e.g., convulsions, edema, poor appetite, respiratory distress, and lethargy) was low (0-45%) before training but increased immediately after and was retained 28 days after training. Agreement between nurse-caregiver mid-upper arm circumference colour classifications was 77% (98/128) immediately after training and 80% after 28 days. These findings lend preliminary support to pursue further study of alternative models of care that allow for greater engagement of caregivers in the clinical and anthropometric surveillance of children with SAM.
    • Peanut-based ready-to-use therapeutic food: how acceptable and tolerated is it among malnourished pregnant and lactating women in Bangladesh?

      Ali, E; Zachariah, R; Shams, Z; Manzi, M; Akter, T; Alders, P; Allaouna, M; Delchevalerie, P; Harries, A D (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2013-05-06)
      Within a Medecins Sans Frontieres's nutrition programme in Kamrangirchar slum, Dhaka, Bangladesh this study was conducted to assess the acceptability of a peanut-based ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) - Plumpy'nut(®) (PPN) among malnourished pregnant and lactating women (PLW). This was a cross-sectional survey using semi-structure questionnaire that included all PLW admitted in the nutrition programme, who were either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition and who had received PPN for at least 4 weeks. A total of 248 women were interviewed of whom 99.6% were at risk of malnutrition. Overall, 212 (85%) perceived a therapeutic benefit. Despite this finding, 193 (78%) women found PPN unacceptable, of whom 12 (5%) completely rejected it after 4 weeks of intake. Reasons for unacceptability included undesirable taste (60%) and unwelcome smell (43%) - more than half of the latter was due to the peanut-based smell. Overall, 39% attributed side effects to PPN intake including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal distension and pain. Nearly 80% of women felt a need to improve PPN - 82% desiring a change in taste and 48% desiring a change in smell. Overall, only 146 (59%) understood the illustrated instructions on the package. Despite a perceived beneficial therapeutic effect, only two in 10 women found PPN acceptable for nutritional rehabilitation. We urge nutritional agencies and manufacturers to intensify their efforts towards developing more RUTF alternatives that have improved palatability and smell for adults and that have adequate therapeutic contents for treating malnourished PLW in Bangladesh.