Science Pops Open, Ep. 10: Nourish the Children of Urban Slums

Research fellows of the AXA Research Fund tell the story of their work to reduce an array of risks

Every year, 3.1 million infants and young children die from malnutrition. Dr. Sophie Goudet’s work focuses on the situation in urban slums, where little research has been done until now—despite being home to one-third of the developing world’s urban population, at high risk for poor nutrition. She is working to gather evidence for the most successful interventions against malnutrition and to determine the most cost-effective approaches. This latter element is crucial for scaling up programs where the number of infants and young children affected is huge.

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Science Pops Open, Ep. 10 : Nourrir les enfants des bidonvilles

 

When children die before the age of five, malnutrition is responsible nearly half (45%) of the time, a percentage that represents 3.1 million deaths per year. Even those who survive such a difficult start can suffer permanent developmental problems, physically and intellectually, with consequences for their adult life and their society’s economic growth. Dr. Sophie Goudet’s work focuses on the case of urban slums, where little research has been done until now—despite being home to one-third of the developing world’s urban population, at high risk for poor nutrition. She is working to gather evidence for the most successful interventions against malnutrition and to determine the most cost-effective approaches. This latter element is crucial for scaling up programs where the number of infants and young children affected is huge.

Dr. Goudet is working with communities in slums of India, Bangladesh and Kenya to analyze the costs and benefits of different approaches to fighting malnutrition, like promoting optimum feeding practices, or treating acute malnutrition. So far, her results from Mumbai show that a community-based management of acute malnutrition, where local organizers collaborate with government health workers, can be an efficient, cost-effective response in an urban slum. Such rigorous assessments will provide policy makers at all levels with much-needed evidence to compare a multitude of approaches. The result could be more successful interventions and better health for these children beginning life in the most difficult of circumstances.

More Episodes of Science Pops Open:

Ep. 1 – Your body can defend itself against cancer. It just needs a little help!, with Margot Cucchetti 

Ep. 2 – Improving outcomes of crisis and conflict, thanks to an ethnographic outlook, with Ruben Andersson

Ep. 3 – After an Earthquake, the Show Must Go On, with Anna Reggio

Ep. 4 – Disrupting the Sleeping Sickness Symphony, with Fabien Guegan

Ep. 5 – Optimizing Welfare…and Equality, with Sean Slack

Ep. 6 – Awaiting Balance in the Adolescent Brain, with Kiki Zanolie

Ep. 7 – Come Drought or High Water, with Luciano Raso

Ep. 8 – Taking European Tornadoes by Storm, with Bogdan Antonescu

Ep. 9 – Learning to Tackle Climate Change Together, with Sandrine Sidze

Ep. 11 – In Money Matters, We're Only Human, with Jeroen Nieboer

Ep. 12 – A Depressed Sense of Smell?, with Kalliopi Apazoglou

Ep. 13 – Climate Shifts Carried on a River of Air, with Nikolaos Bakas

Ep. 14 – Something in the Air Down There, with Fulvio Amato

Ep. 15 – Foretelling a Complex Future for our Complex Ecosystems, with Phillip Staniczenko

Ep. 16 – From Childhood Illness to Innovative Antibiotics, with Agata Starosta

Ep. 17 – Plants & Poisons: Assessing Contamination in Our Environment, with Natalia Ospina-Alvarez

Ep. 18 – Voice of a storm surge, with Emiliano Renzi