Despite living in the era of globalization and the highly industrialized world, the issue of undernutrition continues to exist. In this case, in the article What Works? Interventions for Maternal and Child Undernutrition and Survival, Bhutta et al. (2008) emphasize the paramount importance of this problem while claiming its high prevalence in Africa and Asia. A plethora of strategies were introduced to minimize the negative outcomes of these matters. One of the approaches is to increase and control the intake of the vitamins such as Zinc (Bhutta et al., 2008). Zinc is one of the critical components of a healthy diet, and underestimating its value may lead to the adverse health consequences. Another intervention that has to be considered of high significance is nutrient intake. In this case, one of the strategies is to provide educational sessions with food or cash supplements that will increase the awareness of the target population and add variety to the existent dieting habits (Bhutta et al., 2008). Based on the approaches described above, it could be said that the primary goal of the paper is to assess the effectiveness of these interventions while addressing the issues of maternal and child malnutrition. In the end, the conclusions are drawn to summarize the main findings.
As it was mentioned earlier, zinc is one of the essential components of healthy eating. This element actively participates in “protein synthesis” and “nucleic acid metabolism” (Black et al., 2013, p. 5). One of the associated risks is zinc deficiency, as it is believed to have an adverse effect on health in the long-term. This issue has a high prevalence worldwide while underlining the need to increase and control the intake of this nutrient. In this case, one of the studies indicated that using zinc as a food supplement decreased mortality rate by 9% (Bhutta et al., 2008). Meanwhile, its sufficient consumption is believed to have a beneficial impact on the maternal health due to its positive effect on the immune system and physical condition of the women (Black et al., 2013). A combination of these factors indicates that zinc intake decreases the levels of morbidity and mortality among children and women and restores the nutrient balance in the organisms. Nonetheless, it has to be used in combination with other interventions to enhance the effectiveness of this prevention strategy.
Organizing educational sessions with food supplements can be discovered as another approach that is used to address this issue. The brochures and training are aimed at increasing the awareness of the audience by underlining the significance of breastfeeding. It was discovered that implementing this strategy had a positive impact on the growth of children while decreasing the mortality and morbidity rates (Bhutta et al., 2008). For example, one of the studies showed that after several educational sessions with the mothers, their children showed positive dynamics in weight and length while the underweight was reduced by 10% (Saleem, Mahmud, Baig-Ansari, & Zaidi, 2014). These outcomes indicated that this strategy could be discovered as an effective intervention, as it had a direct positive impact on mothers and children.
In the end, it could be said that the selected interventions can be viewed as effective. Zinc restores balance in the organisms while the educational sessions offer additional information about healthy dieting and breastfeeding. Nonetheless, when designing and developing a sufficient approach, the intake of other vitamins such as A and iron and educational modules have to the considered of equal importance. Using this strategy will assist in fulfilling the gaps in the present interventions and discovering the problem from different stages such as prevention, education, and control.
Bhutta, Z., Ahmeed, T., Black, R., Cousens, S., Dewey, K., Giugliani, E.,… Shekar, M. (2008). What works? Interventions for maternal and child undernutrition and survival. The Lancet, 371(2), 417-440.
Black, R., Victora, C., Walker, S., Bhutta, Z., Christian, P., Onis, M.,… Uauy, R. (2013). Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet, 382(9890), 1-25.
Saleem, A., Mahmud, N., Baig-Ansari, S., & Zaidi, A. (2014). Impact of maternal education about complementary feeding on their infants’ nutritional outcomes in low- and middle-income households: A community-based randomized interventional study in Karachi, Pakistan. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, 32(4), 623-633.