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Nutrition. 2007 Mar;23(3):219-28.

Has the first implementation phase of the Community Nutrition Project in urban Senegal had an impact?

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  • 1Institute de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UR 106, Nutrition Unit (WHO Collaborating Centre for Nutrition), Montpellier, France.



We evaluated the impact of the Community Nutrition Project (CNP) of Senegal, West Africa on the population. In poor urban districts, the CNP provided underweight 6- to 35-mo-old children with growth monitoring/promotion and food supplementation, and education for mothers for a period of 6 mo.


A before/after intervention and intervention zone (IZ)/control zone (CZ) design was used to assess whether CNP had an impact 18 mo after it began in Diourbel. Exhaustive samples included children 6-35 mo old in the CZ (n = 895 before and 917 after) and IZ (n = 912 and 759). The impact was assessed by the differential effect of the zone on changes in underweight, wasting, and stunting defined by the threshold of -2 or -3 z scores.


The decrease in wasting was higher in the CZ (from 13.7% to 8.6% versus 11.3% to 10.8%, P = 0.042). Changes in stunting did not differ between zones (18.8% to 14.5% versus 15.1% to 14.7%, P = 0.21). However, in the IZ, severe wasting, stunting, and underweight disappeared in children 6-11 mo of age. In the CZ, the socioeconomic data and some outcomes in children reflected a favorable context independent of the CNP.


Despite a globally satisfactory decrease in malnutrition in the IZ, no impact was demonstrated because the same or an even larger decrease was observed in the CZ, highlighting the importance of relying on a quasi-experimental design. This may be explained in part by weaknesses in the process, which probably interfered with a potential impact, and by the high degree of population mobility, which could have interfered with efficiency assessed on a geographic scale.

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