A framework to explore micronutrient deficiency in maternal and child health in Malawi, Southern Africa

Natalie Dickinson, John Gulliver, Gordon MacPherson, John Atkinson, Jean Rankin, Maria Cummings, Zoe Nisbet, Andrew Hursthouse, Avril Taylor, Chris Robertson, Wolfgang Burghardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. Global food insecurity is associated with micronutrient deficiencies and it has been suggested that 4.5 billion people world-wide are affected by deficiencies in iron, vitamin A and iodine. Zinc has also been identified to be of increasing concern. The most vulnerable are young children and women of childbearing age. A pilot study has been carried out in Southern Malawi, to attempt to link the geochemical and agricultural basis of micronutrient supply through spatial variability to maternal health and associated cultural and social aspects of nutrition. The aim is to establish the opportunity for concerted action to deliver step change improvements in the nutrition of developing countries. Results. Field work undertaken in August 2007 and July/August 2008 involved the collection of blood, soil and crop samples, and questionnaires from ∼100 pregnant women. Complex permissions and authorisation protocols were identified and found to be as much part of the cultural and social context of the work as the complexity of the interdisciplinary project. These issues are catalogued and discussed. A preliminary spatial evaluation is presented linking soil quality and food production to nutritional health. It also considers behavioural and cultural attitudes of women and children in two regions of southern Malawi, (the Shire Valley and Shire Highlands plateau). Differences in agricultural practice and widely varying soil quality (e.g. pH organic matter, C/N and metal content) were observed for both regions and full chemical analysis of soil and food is underway. Early assessment of blood data suggests major differences in health and nutritional status between the two regions. Differences in food availability and type and observations of life style are being evaluated through questionnaire analysis. Conclusion. The particular emphasis of the study is on the interdisciplinary opportunities and the barriers to progress in development support in subsistence communities. Engaging at the community level and the balance of expectations from both study subjects and research team highlight the merit of careful and detailed planning and project delivery.

LanguageEnglish
Article numberS13
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Health
Volume8
Issue numberSupplement 1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2009

Fingerprint

Southern Africa
Malawi
Micronutrients
Soil
Food Analysis
Food Quality
Food Supply
Nutritional Status
Vitamin A
Iodine
Developing Countries
Health Status
Life Style
Zinc
Pregnant Women
Iron
Metals
Food
Child Health
Maternal Health

Keywords

  • global food insecurity
  • Malawi
  • micronutrient deficiencies
  • micronutrient supply

Cite this

Dickinson, N., Gulliver, J., MacPherson, G., Atkinson, J., Rankin, J., Cummings, M., ... Burghardt, W. (2009). A framework to explore micronutrient deficiency in maternal and child health in Malawi, Southern Africa. Environmental Health, 8(Supplement 1), [S13]. https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-069X-8-S1-S13
Dickinson, Natalie ; Gulliver, John ; MacPherson, Gordon ; Atkinson, John ; Rankin, Jean ; Cummings, Maria ; Nisbet, Zoe ; Hursthouse, Andrew ; Taylor, Avril ; Robertson, Chris ; Burghardt, Wolfgang. / A framework to explore micronutrient deficiency in maternal and child health in Malawi, Southern Africa. In: Environmental Health. 2009 ; Vol. 8, No. Supplement 1.
@article{0c5be9f3fec34807b65247a60dd0e292,
title = "A framework to explore micronutrient deficiency in maternal and child health in Malawi, Southern Africa",
abstract = "Background. Global food insecurity is associated with micronutrient deficiencies and it has been suggested that 4.5 billion people world-wide are affected by deficiencies in iron, vitamin A and iodine. Zinc has also been identified to be of increasing concern. The most vulnerable are young children and women of childbearing age. A pilot study has been carried out in Southern Malawi, to attempt to link the geochemical and agricultural basis of micronutrient supply through spatial variability to maternal health and associated cultural and social aspects of nutrition. The aim is to establish the opportunity for concerted action to deliver step change improvements in the nutrition of developing countries. Results. Field work undertaken in August 2007 and July/August 2008 involved the collection of blood, soil and crop samples, and questionnaires from ∼100 pregnant women. Complex permissions and authorisation protocols were identified and found to be as much part of the cultural and social context of the work as the complexity of the interdisciplinary project. These issues are catalogued and discussed. A preliminary spatial evaluation is presented linking soil quality and food production to nutritional health. It also considers behavioural and cultural attitudes of women and children in two regions of southern Malawi, (the Shire Valley and Shire Highlands plateau). Differences in agricultural practice and widely varying soil quality (e.g. pH organic matter, C/N and metal content) were observed for both regions and full chemical analysis of soil and food is underway. Early assessment of blood data suggests major differences in health and nutritional status between the two regions. Differences in food availability and type and observations of life style are being evaluated through questionnaire analysis. Conclusion. The particular emphasis of the study is on the interdisciplinary opportunities and the barriers to progress in development support in subsistence communities. Engaging at the community level and the balance of expectations from both study subjects and research team highlight the merit of careful and detailed planning and project delivery.",
keywords = "global food insecurity, Malawi, micronutrient deficiencies, micronutrient supply",
author = "Natalie Dickinson and John Gulliver and Gordon MacPherson and John Atkinson and Jean Rankin and Maria Cummings and Zoe Nisbet and Andrew Hursthouse and Avril Taylor and Chris Robertson and Wolfgang Burghardt",
year = "2009",
month = "12",
day = "21",
doi = "10.1186/1476-069X-8-S1-S13",
language = "English",
volume = "8",
journal = "Environmental Health",
issn = "1476-069X",
number = "Supplement 1",

}

Dickinson, N, Gulliver, J, MacPherson, G, Atkinson, J, Rankin, J, Cummings, M, Nisbet, Z, Hursthouse, A, Taylor, A, Robertson, C & Burghardt, W 2009, 'A framework to explore micronutrient deficiency in maternal and child health in Malawi, Southern Africa' Environmental Health, vol. 8, no. Supplement 1, S13. https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-069X-8-S1-S13

A framework to explore micronutrient deficiency in maternal and child health in Malawi, Southern Africa. / Dickinson, Natalie; Gulliver, John; MacPherson, Gordon; Atkinson, John; Rankin, Jean; Cummings, Maria; Nisbet, Zoe; Hursthouse, Andrew; Taylor, Avril; Robertson, Chris; Burghardt, Wolfgang.

In: Environmental Health, Vol. 8, No. Supplement 1, S13, 21.12.2009.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - A framework to explore micronutrient deficiency in maternal and child health in Malawi, Southern Africa

AU - Dickinson, Natalie

AU - Gulliver, John

AU - MacPherson, Gordon

AU - Atkinson, John

AU - Rankin, Jean

AU - Cummings, Maria

AU - Nisbet, Zoe

AU - Hursthouse, Andrew

AU - Taylor, Avril

AU - Robertson, Chris

AU - Burghardt, Wolfgang

PY - 2009/12/21

Y1 - 2009/12/21

N2 - Background. Global food insecurity is associated with micronutrient deficiencies and it has been suggested that 4.5 billion people world-wide are affected by deficiencies in iron, vitamin A and iodine. Zinc has also been identified to be of increasing concern. The most vulnerable are young children and women of childbearing age. A pilot study has been carried out in Southern Malawi, to attempt to link the geochemical and agricultural basis of micronutrient supply through spatial variability to maternal health and associated cultural and social aspects of nutrition. The aim is to establish the opportunity for concerted action to deliver step change improvements in the nutrition of developing countries. Results. Field work undertaken in August 2007 and July/August 2008 involved the collection of blood, soil and crop samples, and questionnaires from ∼100 pregnant women. Complex permissions and authorisation protocols were identified and found to be as much part of the cultural and social context of the work as the complexity of the interdisciplinary project. These issues are catalogued and discussed. A preliminary spatial evaluation is presented linking soil quality and food production to nutritional health. It also considers behavioural and cultural attitudes of women and children in two regions of southern Malawi, (the Shire Valley and Shire Highlands plateau). Differences in agricultural practice and widely varying soil quality (e.g. pH organic matter, C/N and metal content) were observed for both regions and full chemical analysis of soil and food is underway. Early assessment of blood data suggests major differences in health and nutritional status between the two regions. Differences in food availability and type and observations of life style are being evaluated through questionnaire analysis. Conclusion. The particular emphasis of the study is on the interdisciplinary opportunities and the barriers to progress in development support in subsistence communities. Engaging at the community level and the balance of expectations from both study subjects and research team highlight the merit of careful and detailed planning and project delivery.

AB - Background. Global food insecurity is associated with micronutrient deficiencies and it has been suggested that 4.5 billion people world-wide are affected by deficiencies in iron, vitamin A and iodine. Zinc has also been identified to be of increasing concern. The most vulnerable are young children and women of childbearing age. A pilot study has been carried out in Southern Malawi, to attempt to link the geochemical and agricultural basis of micronutrient supply through spatial variability to maternal health and associated cultural and social aspects of nutrition. The aim is to establish the opportunity for concerted action to deliver step change improvements in the nutrition of developing countries. Results. Field work undertaken in August 2007 and July/August 2008 involved the collection of blood, soil and crop samples, and questionnaires from ∼100 pregnant women. Complex permissions and authorisation protocols were identified and found to be as much part of the cultural and social context of the work as the complexity of the interdisciplinary project. These issues are catalogued and discussed. A preliminary spatial evaluation is presented linking soil quality and food production to nutritional health. It also considers behavioural and cultural attitudes of women and children in two regions of southern Malawi, (the Shire Valley and Shire Highlands plateau). Differences in agricultural practice and widely varying soil quality (e.g. pH organic matter, C/N and metal content) were observed for both regions and full chemical analysis of soil and food is underway. Early assessment of blood data suggests major differences in health and nutritional status between the two regions. Differences in food availability and type and observations of life style are being evaluated through questionnaire analysis. Conclusion. The particular emphasis of the study is on the interdisciplinary opportunities and the barriers to progress in development support in subsistence communities. Engaging at the community level and the balance of expectations from both study subjects and research team highlight the merit of careful and detailed planning and project delivery.

KW - global food insecurity

KW - Malawi

KW - micronutrient deficiencies

KW - micronutrient supply

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=73549085410&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1186/1476-069X-8-S1-S13

DO - 10.1186/1476-069X-8-S1-S13

M3 - Article

VL - 8

JO - Environmental Health

T2 - Environmental Health

JF - Environmental Health

SN - 1476-069X

IS - Supplement 1

M1 - S13

ER -

Dickinson N, Gulliver J, MacPherson G, Atkinson J, Rankin J, Cummings M et al. A framework to explore micronutrient deficiency in maternal and child health in Malawi, Southern Africa. Environmental Health. 2009 Dec 21;8(Supplement 1). S13. https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-069X-8-S1-S13