Health strategies for the control of childhood malnutrition
Latham, Michael C.
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Malnutrition is the most important cause of morbidity and mortality of young children in non-industrialized poor countries. The control of protein - energy malnutrition is more complex than the prevention of most other common killing diseases of children. It requires a multi-disciplinary approach including involvement of departments and staff responsible for agriculture, social services, education, economic development, health and possibly others. The aetiology of the problem is complex and is closely related to poverty, deprivation, ignorance and prevalent infectious diseases. Intervention programmes should be considered a legitimate part of national and local development plans. This paper, while briefly discussing the planning of nutrition programmes, deals primarily with those interventions in which health personnel play a leading role. The need for base-line data, for continuing surveillance and for planned evaluation of programmes is discussed. The major part of the paper consists of a critical examination of the three levels of treatment and prevention now commonly favoured: the hospital, the nutrition rehabilitation centre and the health clinic.