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En-net update

By Tamsin Walters, en-net moderator

Over the past four months (1st October 2015 to 17th January 2016), 56 questions have been posted on en-net generating 206 responses. Thirty-seven vacancy announcements have been posted, which have accumulated over 7,000 views; and four upcoming trainings.

SUN en-net was launched in November 2015 with discussions, including:

Follow and join the discussions here.

Mark Myatt shared a recently published article on Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) and weight change during treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) (Binns et al, 2005). The study found that changes in weight and MUAC observed during treatment for SAM in outpatient therapeutic programmes were closely correlated in data from three different country contexts.

The potential for replacing weight monitoring with MUAC monitoring would allow further decentralisation of CMAM services if it were to enable more community health workers (CHWs) to monitor children’s progress and recovery.  To this end, work is ongoing by several agencies and individuals to develop a tool that could be safely used by CHWs with limited literacy and numeracy skills. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) acknowledged the work of Alfred Zerfas (Zerfas, 1975) on a longitudinal MUAC tape, as an inspiration to their current initiatives within the Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) programme to develop a simplified tool to monitor children under treatment from admission to discharge that does not require literacy or numeracy. An early prototype is shown below.

Over the last year, IRC have gone through several iterations and are collaborating with the organisation Quicksand to field test several prototypes with end users. IRC will begin their next field test in January 2016 and hope to write up and share their experiences soon. Research plans are in progress between IRC, UNICEF and Johns Hopkins University on the effectiveness of use of this simplified toolkit by low-literate iCCM CHWs.

Other promising initiatives include work by ALIMA, entitled ‘MUAC = Mothers Understand And Can do it’ and work on a MUAC bangle/bracelet by Action Contre la Faim (ACF). Both of these are focused on mothers using MUAC classification devices. MSF is working with others to produce broad (2.5 cm) straps.

It was agreed that sharing ideas and draft versions of monitoring tapes would be a productive way forward. If others are working on similar initiatives please join the discussion here or get in touch directly with IRC to share ideas and experience.

To join any discussion on en-net, share your experience or post a question, visit here. As a bonus in the coming months, watch out for an upcoming thematic discussion on nutrition and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) linkages, hosted by the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) in March (see news item in this edition). A direct link to the discussion will be posted on en-net.

Finally, during this period, Mark Myatt stepped down as an en-net expert moderator, having invested huge energy in responding to field requests in record time. He joined the en-net moderator team when it launched in 2009 so is due a breather! On behalf of ENN and all the community that engaged in the forum, we extend warm thanks for his support to en-net.

Contributions

Mark Myatt, Alfred Zerfas, Casie Tesfai

Read more...

References

Binns, B., Dale, N., Hog M., Banda, C., Myatt, M. (2015). Relationship between mid upper arm circumference and weight changes in children aged 6-59 months. Archives of Public Health 2015 73:54 DOI 10.1186/s13690-015-0103.

Zerfas, A. (1975). The insertion tape: a new circumference tape for use in nutritional assessment. Am J Clin Nutr 1975 28: 7 782-7

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Tamsin Walters (2016). En-net update. Field Exchange 51, January 2016. p154. www.ennonline.net/fex/51/ennetupdate

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