Home environment is a key factor in how children recover from severe acute malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa

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Three reports published by Queen Mary University of London have provided valuable insights into the management of severe acute malnutrition (SAM), the most life-threatening form of malnutrition in children.

Researchers found that home environment influences how well children recover from severe acute malnutrition, as children are usually discharged into the same home environment that contributed to their poor health in the first place.

The study builds on previous research in Zimbabwe and also focused on the areas of Lusaka, Zambia, and Migori and Homa Bay counties in Kenya to see if researchers can draw similarities between these settings. spread out. Indeed, similar themes emerged from the overall qualitative analysis.

Research supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) found that given that children are often discharged from hospital and returned to hospital before multiple body systems have fully recovered, children It turns out that a good family environment and nurturing environment are essential for children to survive and grow. Same family environment.

The study also highlights how complex cases of malnutrition are, as malnutrition can result from broader socio-economic factors, deeply entrenched poverty, and the personal actions of caregivers. also pointed out. Community-wide interventions, such as education and training, building support networks, and opportunities for income-generating activities, should also be considered alongside acute care.

Isabella Cordani, Project Coordinator at the Center for Genomics and Child Health and Project Coordinator at Queen Mary’s Blizzard Research Institute, said: “While there are comprehensive WHO guidelines for the management of SAM in children, the focus is on antibiotics and medications. “It’s there,” he said. ”

Professor Tim Brown, Professor of Global Health Geography at Queen Mary University, said: “What was surprising about the results was the similarities between the three countries studied. “Mothers were more likely to delay seeking medical care at a clinic due to malnutrition.” They most often sought advice from traditional healers and faith leaders before going to clinics, but in some cases this led to life-threatening delays.

“Another example of similarities between countries is the experience of social stigma and shame. Many mothers experience various forms of stigma, such as being laughed at or being talked about behind their backs because their child was malnourished. There were also common experiences of being stigmatized.” Due to social stigma and shame, some mothers and primary caregivers may try to hide their child’s condition. Some refused malnutrition-related treatment or delayed taking their children to clinics. This was especially noticeable in the case of young mothers. ”

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