Projects: Health, Nutrition & Food Security
EkoComer: Understanding and advancing the “250 Thousand Families” Responsible Consumption campaign in Ecuador
We are working to understand the drivers of “responsible consumption”, that is, what social factors, local food environment differences, national policies around food, and individual characterstitics contribute to individuals making dietary choices that contribute to their pesonal health, the health of the local environment and the local economy. Ecuador is at a critical junction, as policies to promote health and food sovereignty, put in place by previous governments are now under threat by industry lobbying of the current “business friendly” government.
Our goal was to identify best practices for improving farm and dietary diversity through participatory communities. We studied farming biodiversity, farming practices, dietary diversity, the food market and natural resources, and conducted analyses that will allow us to develop and test interventions that could improve farm and dietary diversity.
The goal of this project was to identify local and practical solutions to improve nutrition and food security of the smallholder farmers using “nutrition-sensitive agriculture solutions” (NSAS). NSAS means that we focus not only on the production of more food, but also the nutritional quality of the food, and what the farmers do with the food.
Evaluation of behaviour change interventions to improve coverage and adherence of zinc & oral rehydration solutions (ORS) for treatment of diarrhea in Senegal
A national mass media campaign is planned in Senegal to encourage families to proactively care for their young children when they have diarrhea. The radio and television messages will encourage families to take their sick child to a health facility, give the child oral rehydration solution (ORS) as well as zinc supplements, and ensure that they give the zinc supplements for the recommended 10 days. In one region of the country, health care providers will be given additional training to improve their counselling skills when they interact with families who bring in their child with diarrhea for treatment.
Small animals, big changes – Small animal husbandry to improve mother and child nutrition in rural Bolivia
The diet of the rural people of the Andes is based on tubers and grains and has very low levels of nutrient-dense, animal-source foods (meat, milk, eggs). The result is that dietary fat and various vitamins and minerals are often insufficient. In order to address this in a sustainable manner, HealthBridge is working with the Bolivian NGO CENDA to promote animal husbandry (sheep and chickens) in the Andean zone of the department of Cochabamba. Better animal management will lead to increased availability of animal-source foods, and, if promoted appropriately, this will result in increased consumption of these foods and…
Trained community health volunteers provide access to essential primary health care services in contexts where the health system lacks capacity to adequately deliver them. In Liberia, the Ebola outbreak further disrupted health system function. The objective of this study was to examine the value of a community-based health system in ensuring continued treatment of child illnesses during the outbreak and the role that volunteers had in Ebola prevention activities.
Diagnosing fevers better: Improving diagnosis of febrile illnesses by uniting disease ecology and satellite imagery
HealthBridge and colleagues at the University of Ottawa are working with partners in Tanzania to further refine the mosquito habitat mapping (described in the project “Increasing capacity in disease vector modelling to improve malaria and arbovirus mitigation strategies”). This work includes mapping seasonal variation in suitable habitats and developing predictive models of local malaria and arbovirus risk. The seasonal predictions of local malaria and arbovirus risk will be integrated into a smartphone application that will be used to diagnose patients with a fever.
The Canadian Red Cross (CRC) and the Honduran Red Cross (HRC) ran a five year CIDA-funded community health project, called “REDES” (“Networks”). The objective was to improve the health of vulnerable populations in rural communities of the departments of Copán and Santa Bárbara, Honduras. The organizations worked to strengthen maternal and child health services, specifically to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality and morbidity.
The HRC carried out extensive monitoring throughout the project, including baseline and end line surveys. In order to determine the impact of the REDES project,…
Increasing capacity in disease vector modelling to improve malaria and arbovirus mitigation strategies
Managing malaria is difficult, especially in areas where other illnesses, such as arboviruses (like Dengue Fever and Rift Valley Fever), cause fevers that are often misdiagnosed and treated as malaria. Knowing how much habitat is available for mosquitoes that transmit malaria (Anopheles mosquitoes) compared to habitat for mosquitoes that transmit arboviruses (Aedes mosquitoes) can help distinguish the likelihood of malaria infections relative to arbovirus infections.
Kenya conducted a national survey of the nutritional status of its population in 2011. In collaboration with the Micronutrient Initiative, HealthBridge analyzed the data on the foods eaten daily by women and young children. This work helped to describe the average amount and types of foods eaten each day, including specific vitamins and minerals that are important for health. We estimated the proportion of women and children who don’t get enough vitamins and minerals in their diet, including iron, vitamin A, zinc and vitamin B-12. We also looked at the most common types of foods eaten by families…
Providing zinc supplements along with oral rehydration to young children for the treatment of diarrhea is a life-saving intervention. Iron/folate supplements help address the common problem of iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women. Global efforts to ensure all children and women in developing countries have access to these programs had made little progress. The Micronutrient Initiative commissioned intensive research studies in nine countries in order to identify the barriers and potential enabling factors to improve the coverage of these programs. HealthBridge’s role in this project was to compile the country reports, synthesize their findings, and disseminate…
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Breastfeeding and mixed feeding practices in Malawi: Timing, reasons, decision makers, and child health consequences.
Reports and Publications
- The acceptability of cast iron and blue steel pots in Vietnam
- Report of Infant Complementary Feeding Practices
- Report of Infant Pot Interviews
- The Efficacy of Iron Pots and Steel Pots in Reducing Prevalence of Anemia in Vietnam
- A review of the effectiveness of agriculture interventions in improving nutrition outcomes
- The Effectiveness of Small-Scale Agriculture Interventions on Household Food Security: A review of the literature
Report – Insecticide Treated Nets and Vitamin A Supplementation: An integrated approach to control malaria and micronutrient deficiency Literature Review Paper and Malawi Case Study