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Nutr J. 2010 Nov 22;9:56. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-56.

Home visits by neighborhood Mentor Mothers provide timely recovery from childhood malnutrition in South Africa: results from a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

  • 1Philani Child Health and Nutrition Project, Khayelitsha, PO Box 40188, Elonwabeni, Cape Town 7791, South Africa.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Child and infant malnourishment is a significant and growing problem in the developing world. Malnourished children are at high risk for negative health outcomes over their lifespans. Philani, a paraprofessional home visiting program, was developed to improve childhood nourishment. The objective of this study is to evaluate whether the Philani program can rehabilitate malnourished children in a timely manner.

METHODS:

Mentor Mothers were trained to conduct home visits. Mentor Mothers went from house to house in assigned neighborhoods, weighed children age 5 and younger, and recruited mother-child dyads where there was an underweight child. Participating dyads were assigned in a 2:1 random sequence to the Philani intervention condition (n = 536) or a control condition (n = 252). Mentor Mothers visited dyads in the intervention condition for one year, supporting mothers' problem-solving around nutrition. All children were weighed by Mentor Mothers at baseline and three, six, nine and twelve month follow-ups.

RESULTS:

By three months, children in the intervention condition were five times more likely to rehabilitate (reach a healthy weight for their ages) than children in the control condition. Throughout the course of the study, 43% (n = 233 of 536) of children in the intervention condition were rehabilitated while 31% (n = 78 of 252) of children in the control condition were rehabilitated.

CONCLUSIONS:

Paraprofessional Mentor Mothers are an effective strategy for delivering home visiting programs by providing the knowledge and support necessary to change the behavior of families at risk.

PMID:
21092178
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3002292
Free PMC Article
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