DIGHR (Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research) and MSF have partnered to investigate and develop operational guidance for mitigating potentially adverse effects in the treatment and recovery of children with severe acute malnutrition due to chemical water quality in intensive therapeutic feeding centres.
Recent experiences in the Horn of Africa famine response have raised concerns that chemical water quality in inpatient therapeutic feeding centres (ITFCs). The water quality may be linked to medical complications in the treatment and recovery of children and infants with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) even when concentrations are within established international limits — as the physiological and metabolic function of SAM children may be compromised.
There is an urgent need to develop operational guidance on allowable chemical water quality in ITFCs as well as technical management strategies, especially in a context of advancing climate change and widespread over-exploitation of water resources.
This project will synthesize medical and engineering knowledge from multiple domains including pediatrics, nutrition, nephrology, hydrogeology, aqueous chemistry, and water treatment. The project will convene an expert panel process with leading nutrition, medical, and WASH experts globally to produce operationally relevant guidance for chemical water quality management in ITFCs during humanitarian emergencies. The guidance outputs of this project will help address an urgent operational knowledge gap on an emergent climate change-related health challenge and will help improve patient care and outcomes for the most vulnerable groups during famine and food insecurity crises.
The project will generate two key knowledge synthesis reports (medical and engineering), including knowledge gap analysis, on the core challenge.
From this, we will develop draft operational guidance on chemical water quality in ITFCs, which will subsequently be refined and vetted by an international expert panel.
By systematically reviewing the literature and engaging world-leading experts, we will identify priorities for further research and development on this emergent climate change-related health challenge.
The project will produce:
The project team reflect on the steps taken to creating Intensive Therapeutic Feeding Centres water quality guidance.View
As aid workers in nutritional crises, we try to support affected populations through ambulatory feeding programmes, or through therapeutic feeding in clinical settings for the most critically ill. But what if the water we use in these clinics could be presenting a potential harm?View
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