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Assessment of a take home child supplementary feeding programme in a high density suburb of Mutare City, Zimbabwe.

Authors
  • Bijlsma, M
  • McClean, D
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Central African journal of medicine
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1997
Volume
43
Issue
1
Pages
16–20
Identifiers
PMID: 9185374
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

All well-baby clinics in Mutare City, Zimbabwe, offer a supplementary feeding program for undernourished children. This study assessed the impact of the feeding program in Sakubva--Mutare's largest, poorest, and most densely populated suburb. Levels of undernutrition among children 12-23 months of age are 9.0% in Sakubva compared to 5.8% in Mutare City as a whole. The assessment involved a chart review of the 190 underweight children who attended the clinic a minimum of three times in at least two months between July 1995 and May 1996. Children enrolled in the program received a take-home ration of 2 kg Nutrimeal porridge flour containing maize, soya bean flour, sugar, and salt and mothers were instructed to return in two weeks for growth monitoring and porridge resupply. The 190 study subjects received over 2500 kg of porridge and achieved a total weight change of 170 kg. 158 children (83%) showed improved growth as a result of program participation and 112 (59%) experienced recovery growth (0.2 kg/month or more). 32 children (17%) did not improve and 15 (8%) of these children lost weight while participating in the program. Nutritional improvement status was strongly associated with chronic health conditions such as diarrhea, cough, and fever. Of the 86 children with chronic conditions, 63 (73%) improved and 23 (27%) did not. Among the 104 children without chronic conditions, 95 (91%) improved and 9 (9%) did not. Referral of children who do not improve for check-up and treatment should become a routine practice. Overall, these findings confirm the importance of supplementary feeding programs in impoverished communities.

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