Date of Defense:
March 26, 2012
Micronutrient deficiencies are a leading contributor to malnutrition in the developing world. Lack of proper nutrition during critical periods of development, particularly the first two years of life, can have devastating short term and long term health consequences. Micro nutrient supplement interventions are needed to ensure proper development in regions where this is a persistent problem. Some of the most affected areas are rural communities with poor funding and access. Until programs can penetrate even the most remote regions, local affordable and sustainable micro nutrient solutions should be sought. One such solution may be found in a plant that grows in many rural regions of the developing world–Moringa oleifera. Research with this plant has shown an impressive nutrient profile that rivals the best plant nutrient sources. Nutritional interventions using Moringa oleifera have been conducted around the world with young children and pregnant women with great anecdotal success. Now is the time to conduct experimental projects that can give a more accurate picture of its level of effectiveness. This project will create an intervention to test the effectiveness of Moringa oleiferain a rural setting in Mozambique. The intervention includes an educational component in well-baby clinics and uses community health field workers to make home visits. The emphasis is on creating a cost-effective and feasible intervention where mothers are empowered to create the supplement in their own homes in a sustainable way.