Q&A with Noreen Mucha, Multisectoral Nutrition Advisor

by Dan Campbell on January 30, 2015

Noreen Mucha has over 14 years of experience working in international development, primarily focusing in the public health sector but also within the agriculture and education sectors. Experience includes working with host country governments, United Nations, international nongovernmental organizations, non profits and universities. noreen-mucha_interview

Question: Please give a brief description of your current work with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)?
Currently, I am conducting a 14 country nutrition and nutrition-sensitive landscape analysis for the DFID-global project m-nutrition in which Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is a consortia member along with CAB Institute, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), OXFAM, and the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The ultimate goal of the mNutrition Initiative is to contribute to improving nutrition and food security of the poor, especially women, by harnessing the power of mobile technologies to improve access to information on nutrition-specific behaviors as well as nutrition-sensitive health and agricultural practices especially for farmers and the rural population particularly women and adolescent girls.

Question: What is your latest publication and what were 1 or 2 of the main findings?
My latest publication was with the CMAM (Community Management for Acute Malnutrition) Forum entitled “Preventing Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) Through Nutrition-Sensitive Interventions.” Some key findings included:

  • A combination of short-and long-term interventions to prevent MAM can help build longer-term resilience whilst also responding to needs arising due to the local seasonal context. Seasonal food insecurity and other changes associated with seasonality, such as an increase in infections or inadequate caring practices, need to be taken into consideration in order to reduce seasonal peaks in wasting.
  • Studies demonstrate significant results in reduction of wasting when addressing underlying conditions such as poor WASH conditions, inadequate food security, and poor caring practices. In terms of WASH, most evidence demonstrates that the promotion of a clean and sanitary environment for infants and young children and addressing faecal-oral transmission pathways, especially exploratory ingestion of soil and chicken faeces in infants and young children (birth–18 months old), due to the very high bacterial load of these substances is the most effective intervention to help prevent MAM.

Question: What do you think are some of the main issues regarding the integration of WASH and Nutrition?
One of the greatest challenges is the vertical sectors and the fact that most health programs do not integrate WASH adequately. WASH experts are not familiar with the underlying causes of malnutrition and nutrition experts are not familiar with improved sanitation and water. Furthermore, there is more need for high-level advocacy to integrate them at the Ministry level within countries, backed by resources. Some donors are taking this step to release new bids with integrated nutrition and WASH.

Question: What are some of the greatest challenges of scaling up nutrition including the integration of WASH?
The greatest challenge is lack of coordination. Most donors and implementing partners fail to coordinate resulting in significant duplication of resources and lowered impact. The SUN Movement is a successful start to coordination at the country level, however it is generally unfunded. More resources need to be allocated for coordination and strengthening the capacity to support integrated programs at both the HQ levels as well as country level.

The Other Asian Enigma: Explaining the Rapid Reduction of Undernutrition in Bangladesh. World Development, Feb 2015.

Authors: Derek Headeya, John Hoddinotta, b, Disha Alic, Roman Tesfayea, Mekdim Derejea

Although South Asia has long been synonymous with persistent and unusually high rates of child undernutrition – the so called Asian Enigma – Bangladesh has managed to sustain a surprisingly rapid reduction in the rate of child undernutrition for at least two decades.

We investigate this unheralded success through a regression and decomposition analysis of changes in child growth outcomes across five rounds of DHS surveys from 1997 to 2011.

We find that rapid wealth accumulation and large gains in parental education are the two largest drivers of change, though health, sanitation, and demographic factors have played significant secondary roles.

SPRING – Essential Nutrition Actions and Essential Hygiene Actions: A Training Guide for Peace Corps Health Volunteers and Peace Corps Staff

January 29, 2015

Essential Nutrition Actions and Essential Hygiene Actions: A Training Guide for Peace Corps Health Volunteers and Peace Corps Staff, 2014. SPRING Project. Full text In 2013 SPRING assisted Peace Corps and WAFSP with introducing and rolling out the Essential Nutrition Actions package in five West African countries (Benin, Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, and Sierra Leone) by […]

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World Bank – Promoting Handwashing and Sanitation Evidence from a Large-Scale Randomized Trial in Rural Tanzania

January 29, 2015

Promoting Handwashing and Sanitation Evidence from a Large-Scale Randomized Trial in Rural Tanzania, 2015. World Bank. Full text Authors: Bertha Briceño, Aidan Coville Sebastian Martinez. This paper presents the results of two large-scale, government-led handwashing and sanitation promotion campaigns in rural Tanzania. For the campaign, 181 wards were randomly assigned to receive sanitation promotion, handwashing promotion, both interventions together, or […]

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Child malnutrition and the Millennium Development Goals: much haste but less speed?

January 29, 2015

Child malnutrition and the Millennium Development Goals: much haste but less speed? Arch Dis Child. 2015 Feb;100 Suppl 1:S19-22. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2013-305384. Full text Author: Oruamabo RS. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provide a framework for measuring the progress of nations. Several of these goals relate to child malnutrition, which remains an important contributor to child […]

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Pediatric small intestine bacterial overgrowth in low-income countries

January 29, 2015

Pediatric small intestine bacterial overgrowth in low-income countries. Trends in Molec Med, Jan 2015. Abstract/order info Authors: Jeffrey R. Donowitz, William A. Petri Jr. Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when colonic quantities of commensal bacteria are present in the small bowel. SIBO is associated with conditions of disrupted gastrointestinal (GI) motility leading to stasis […]

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ACF – Greater investment in water, sanitation and hygiene is key to the fight against undernutrition

January 29, 2015

Greater investment in water, sanitation and hygiene is key to the fight against undernutrition, 2015. Action Contre La Faim. Full text Authors: Carlotta Denis, Jean Lapegue, Karl Lellouche, Rachel Lozano and Elise Rodriguez. Despite the number of children who die every year as a consequence of undernutrition, and the research demonstrating the major impact that Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions […]

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A single genus in the gut microbiome reflects host preference and specificity

January 29, 2015

A single genus in the gut microbiome reflects host preference and specificity. ISME J. Jan 2015; 9(1): 90–100. Full text Authors: A Murat Eren, et al. Delineating differences in gut microbiomes of human and animal hosts contributes towards understanding human health and enables new strategies for detecting reservoirs of waterborne human pathogens. We focused upon […]

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FANTA III – Overview of the Nutrition Situation in 11 Countries in Asia

January 15, 2015

FANTA III – Overview of the Nutrition Situation in 11 Countries in Asia, 2015. Reducing malnutrition globally depends on reducing malnutrition in Asia, which has the highest prevalence and greatest numbers of children under 5 years of age who are stunted, wasted, and underweight. USAID’s renewed focus and commitment to nutrition is an opportunity to […]

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ICDDR,B – MAL-ED: Illuminating the linkages between childhood malnutrition and diarrhoeal diseases

January 9, 2015

MAL-ED: Illuminating the linkages between childhood malnutrition and diarrhoeal diseases, 2014 | Source: icddr,b News, Nov 2014 MAL-ED, a long term, multinational project to which icddr,b is contributing, takes a uniquely comprehensive approach to investigating the complex relationships between under-nutrition and enteric diseases and their impact on early childhood development. Under-nutrition affects 20% of children […]

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