Researchers and scientists belonging to Childhood Acute Illness & Nutrition (CHAIN) Network this week gathered at Speke Resort Muyonyo Kampala to discuss how to improve survival rate of under malnourished children through interventions that might address nutrition, medical, social and economic challenges.
The three-day meeting attracted investigators from the six collaborating countries of Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh and Pakistan who admit malnourished children, follow them through hospitalisation and then six months after.
“These are highly vulnerable children, many of whom die while others get medical problems. We are sharing these issues, deciding as a group where our priorities lie and moving forward to try and help these children in the best way possible,” said Professor Judd Walson, the co- principal investigator at University of Washington Seattle USA while closing the meeting on Wednesday.
Although globally there has been a reduction in overall child mortality since 1990, many children continue to die from unavoidable causes. Malnutrition is an underlying cause for almost half of the deaths as it increases susceptibility to common infections, such as pneumonia and diarrhoea.
Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is reported to affect 19 million children below five years worldwide with the largest burden being in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Uganda Demographic Health Survey (UDHS) 2016 indicates that 4% (approximately 300,000) of the Uganda children are wasted and are therefore at risk of diseases and death.
Childhood Acute Illness & Nutrition (CHAIN) network brings together a network of clinical scientists to build the evidence base to help undernourished children survive, thrive and grow during and after an acute illness.
The project is project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is coordinated from the KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya, and the Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, USA and collaborating centres are in the UK, USA, Canada and the Netherlands.