IYCN Update: July 2011

Welcome to the ninth issue of the IYCN Update, a newsletter from USAID’s Infant & Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) Project. Distributed four times per year, each issue offers updates on the latest research, new resources, and project news.

Research highlights

Shorter course of zinc therapy as effective as longer treatment for diarrhea
In the February 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, researchers who conducted a randomized trial in Bangladesh found that a shorter course of zinc therapy (five days) is as effective as the standard zinc therapy (ten days), recommended by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund, on the incidence and duration of diarrhea among children ages 4 to 59 months. Read more.

What is the role of responsive feeding in child undernutrition?
A paper published in the Journal of Nutrition in March 2011 provides a review and history of published literature on the role of responsive feeding (RF) on child undernutrition. The authors found that while many interventions have demonstrated a positive association between RF and child eating behaviors, dietary intake, and growth, lack of uniformity in defining RF prevents comparisons across studies and may cause confusion when interpreting research results. They call for standardization of the definition and measurement of RF, and additional research. Read more.

Making low-dose micronutrient powders effective in improving nutritional status
A double-blind controlled trial, published in the Journal of Nutrition in December 2010, aimed to test whether low iron/zinc micronutrient powders (MNPs) using more-absorbable iron, more vitamin C to aid iron absorption, and a phytase to break down phytates that inhibit iron absorption would improve iron and zinc status and growth of South African children (ages 5–11). The authors found that adding this modified low-dose MNP to a high-phytate maize porridge just before consumption resulted in significant improvements in growth and reductions in iron and zinc deficiency. Read more.

Multi-country analysis of child nutrition programs reveals limited improvements
An April 2011 special supplement of Maternal and Child Nutrition is devoted to a series of situational analysis to evaluate infant and young child nutrition activities in six Sahelian countries. Findings revealed limited positive achievements for most countries but also identified important gaps preventing success in ensuring adequate nutrition for 80 percent of the children in the region. The authors present an executive summary of activities, six situational analysis, and a final paper providing a road map for the way forward. Read more.

Country spotlight: Zambia

Improving nutrition counseling across the continuum of care

In Kabwe, Zambia, mothers, health workers and volunteers are working together to prevent malnutrition.

An IYCN-supported demonstration project in two health facilities in Kabwe District, Zambia, established a scalable model for making improvements in health facility- and community-based nutrition assessment, counseling, and support. Using a quality improvement approach, IYCN facilitated joint planning and collaboration within facilities and between facilities and communities to identify problems and feasible solutions. The project showed that efforts to improve nutrition throughout the continuum of care can achieve success when activities at the community and health facility levels are linked.

Download a summary of IYCN’s approach for improving nutrition across the continuum of care in Zambia.

Featured resource: Nigeria

Clearly communicating national recommendations on infant feeding and HIV
A new brochure is helping health workers, donors, United Nations agencies, and other stakeholders understand Nigeria’s recent National Consensus on Infant Feeding in the Context of HIV. IYCN supported the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and collaborated closely with WHO and UNICEF to create the user-friendly brochure aiming to clearly explain the consensus, which responds to the 2010 WHO guidelines on HIV and infant feeding. IYCN printed 50,000 copies, and the FMOH launched the resource during a May 8 gathering of health officials from all 36 Nigerian states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Download the brochure.

Project news

A nurse shares how IYCN has made a difference at Chawama Health Centre.

Looking ahead in Zambia
The IYCN team in Zambia marked the completion of activities with a half-day event on March 23. More than 100 stakeholders gathered in Lusaka to discuss how to build on IYCN’s achievements and lessons over the past three years and to explore future directions for infant and young child nutrition programming.

The Permanent Secretary, Dr. Peter Mwaba, and René Berger of USAID/Zambia, made opening remarks and encouraged participants to build upon IYCN’s experiences. Representatives from the National Food and Nutrition Commission, the Federal Ministry of Health, and UNICEF participated in a panel discussion on advances and gaps in efforts to reduce malnutrition.

Download our Zambia Brief for a summary of IYCN’s achievements and lessons learned.

Download IYCN’s PowerPoint presentation from the event.

Côte d’Ivoire team continues vital work despite a national crisis
In recent months, the IYCN team has faced uncertainty, obstacles, and dangers resulting from Côte d’Ivoire’s post-election crisis. Yet despite all adversities, the eight-person staff, based in Abidjan, found solutions for moving forward with activities. They continued conducting follow-up calls to prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) and social center sites even though they couldn’t make site visits, and worked on a national scale-up plan for nutrition activities at PMTCT sites. Currently, team members are working from their homes until the situation in Abidjan stabilizes and USAID gives the go-ahead to resume working at the IYCN office.

New report illuminates feeding problems in Malawi
On February 21, IYCN joined the Ministry of Health, the World Bank, and other partners to disseminate a final report on the IYCN-led Malawi Infant and Young Child Feeding and Nutrition Study. Following the meeting, The Nation, Malawi’s national newspaper, reported on the findings of the study, warning that feeding “junk food,” such as tea, fizzy drinks, and orange squash, to children is contributing to Malawi’s high prevalence of stunting (47.5 percent). The study found that mothers were relieved to find that they could replace sugary snacks and drinks with more nutritious and less costly fruits to improve child nutrition. At the meeting, Dr. Mary Shawa, Principal Secretary for Nutrition and HIV, called for the government and the private sector to work together to address the information gaps that are contributing to the problem.

Download the report.

Literature review highlights grandmothers and men as key influencers
Our new literature review examines evidence of the roles and influence of grandmothers and men related to child nutrition practices and offers recommendations for program implementers to strengthen community approaches for addressing malnutrition.

Download the literature review.

Please email us to request hard copies: info@iycn.org.

Coupling micronutrient powders with a behavior change strategy in Bangladesh
IYCN recently collaborated with CARE to introduce an innovative approach for using micronutrient powders (MNPs) to motivate behavior change in Bangladesh. The approach—a first-ever effort to use a nutritional product as a means to encourage changes in child feeding—included identifying age-specific feeding practices from the Ministry of Health’s infant and young child feeding promotion strategy, such as avoiding use of feeding bottles and enhancing complementary foods with vegetables and animal-source foods, that can be linked to MNP use. IYCN created behavior change communication materials for community-based workers to promote the improved practices.


SAVE THE DATE: July 19, 2011
On July 19, 2011, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, IYCN will host a meeting at PATH in Washington, DC, to discuss approaches for effective community-based nutrition programming and share new behavior change communication tools. Look for more information soon.

38th Annual International Conference on Global Health
On June 15, IYCN hosted a satellite session at the 38th Annual International Conference on Global Health, Innovations in micronutrient powder programs: opportunities to reduce child anemia. Learn more.

Also at the conference, Janet Guta, IYCN Country Coordinator, Malawi, presented a poster on June 14: Addressing barriers to healthy feeding in Malawi. Learn more.

A2Z Investing in Micronutrients: From Past Experience to Current Challenges
Tom Schaetzel, IYCN Technical Director, moderated a panel, Micronutrients for Infants and Children, at A2Z’s event on June 13. On behalf of IYCN, Marcia Griffiths, from The Manoff Group, joined the same panel to share Lessons from applying Trials of Improved Practices (TIPS) methodology to improve infant feeding behaviors in Malawi, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.

CORE Group Spring Meeting
IYCN hosted a session on Influencing the Influencers, to explore the role of community and household members who influence health behaviors, at the CORE Group Spring Meeting on May 12. Learn more.

On May 11, Nicole Racine, IYCN consultant, presented IYCN’s experience and findings from pretesting Infant and Young Child Feeding Counseling Cards in Haiti. View the PowerPoint presentation.

A2Z Micronutrient Nutrition: Program Integration and Innovation Meeting
On May 4, Dr. Nanthalile Mugala, former IYCN Country Coordinator, Zambia, presented on Integration of nutrition in Zambia across PMTCT and the continuum of care as part of a panel on integration of nutrition programming into other health platforms. IYCN’s Stephanie Martin moderated the panel. Learn more.

As part of a panel on innovations in program delivery, Tom Schaetzel, IYCN Technical Director, presented on the Nutritional Impact Assessment Tool: Focusing agriculture on nutritional outcomes. Learn more.


We welcome your feedback and suggestions for our next issue. Please contact: info@iycn.org.

Photos: Aurelio Ayala III, 2007 Virginia Lamprecht, Courtesy of Photoshare