Providing evidence to reduce risk of malnutrition in infant and young children in uncertain urban slum environments

Sophie goudet

Nationality French

Year of selection 2013

Institution Loughborough University

Country United Kingdom

Risk Socio-Economics

Post-Doctoral Fellowship

2 years

120000 €

Nourish the Children of Urban Slums

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.

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What works best to efficiently improve the health of slum children ?