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Series of emergency meetings

'The Management of Childhood Malnutrition: nutritional rehabilitation in poverty, famine and war'

This meeting was organised by the International Child Health Group on the 7th of November. The meeting which was held at the Institute of Child Health in Birmingham hosted six guest speakers who spoke on their specialist topics. Four of the speakers gave presentations that were directly relevant to food and nutrition in emergencies. Professor Mike Golden spoke about 'new approaches to therapeutic feeding' while Dr Peter Sullivan spoke about 'feeding children with persistent diarrhoea'. Dr Andre Briend made a presentation about assessment of malnutrition in which Meetings he spoke about a modified approach to analysing nutrition survey results, which focuses on weight lost rather than weight status at time of measurement. Finally, Dr John Seamen gave an overview of emergencies and humanitarian response based on his long experience of being medical director for Save the Children Fund. The next edition of Field Exchange will contain a summary of the meeting proceedings which have as yet to be completed.

'Emergency Food Needs Assessments'

The Inter-Agency Group held a meeting in Amsterdam on 'Emergency Food Needs Assessments' on December the 2nd and 3rd. The meeting, which was hosted by MSF Holland, was the third in a series of meetings held by this group involving UN agency and NGO staff as well as academics working in the area of emergency food and nutrition. The previous meeting, which was held in Dublin, was on "Emergency Supplementary Feeding Programmes". These meetings have become a forum for exchanging information on specific subjects related to food and nutrition in emergencies between operational agency staff and academics. A large part of this most recent meeting was given over to identifying, and where possible classifying, different emergency food needs assessments approaches. A number of agencies, including SCF UK, Oxfam, ICRC, WFP and ECHO led discussions by presenting their assessment approaches.

'Consultation on Applied Health Research Priorities in Complex Emergencies'

This meeting convened by WHO/EHA in Geneva 2829 October 199 brought together many of those working in complex emergencies to discuss research priorities to improve emergency responses. Working groups were established on nutrition, reproductive health, communicable diseases, health service management, information management, mental health and ethics. Research priorities were set within each group based on a wide range of criteria including the magnitude of the problem being researched, the likely positive impact of solving it. The nutrition working group determined the following four research priorities:

  1. Evaluation of Food Security and needs assessment methods for different stages of an emergency.
  2. Analysis and strengthening of caring capacities in households and in the community and their relationship to nutritional status.
  3. Determination of feasible approaches to the prevention of micronutrient deficiencies.
  4. Identification of reasons for low coverage by, or ineffectiveness of, current emergency nutrition programmes and how to address them.

Currently a report on the meeting is being finalised. For further information contact: Danielle de Bout at WHO 20 Avenue Appia 1211, Geneva 27, Switzerland. E-mail: deboutd@who.ch

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Series of emergency meetings. Field Exchange 3, January 1998. p15. www.ennonline.net/fex/3/meetings

(ENN_3297)

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