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New web app to combat malnutrition

| November 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

Millions of children in the Horn of Africa are the helpless victims of malnutrition, and old interventions are simply not working. In a bid to stop millions of people dying, the United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) recently launched a webpowered tool to provide governments and civil society groups around the world with up-to-date guidelines to fight malnutrition.

The new tool is called eLENA – the e-library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions – and has been in development since 2009, says Ala Alwan, the WHO Assistant Director-General of Non Communicable Diseases and Mental Health. “Countries need access to the science and evidence-informed guidance to reduce the needless death and suffering associated with malnutrition,” Alwan explains. “[The e-library] can greatly improve how countries cope with the terrible health threats posed by malnutrition.”

Undernourishment affects more than one billion people on the planet, and is an underlying cause of 35% of all deaths of children under five years old, reports the WHO. Micronutrient deficiencies – including iodine, iron, vitamin A and zinc – all contribute to lowered immunity, blindness and maternal fatalities. Obesity is also considered to be malnourishment. eLENA – available free via the WHO – is essentially a bank of current, accessible methods for effective health interventions.

Says Alwan: “Access to the latest nutrition guidelines, recommendations and scientific evidence can help countries make appropriate choices to address their health and nutrition challenges. Decision-makers will also benefit from an understanding of the often-complex biological rationales for each of these interventions, and the behavioural and contextual factors which could affect the success or adaptability of the intervention.”

Category: e-Education, Summer 2011

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