In August of 2016, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition’s Nepal team had a surprise visit from Mr. Giriraj Subedi, the Nutrition Chief of the Child Health Division from the Nepal Ministry of Health and Population. He was joined by Mr. Anirudra Sharma, a nutrition specialist at UNICEF Nepal, and Mr. Angaad Shahi, the focal person for nutrition at DPHO Banke. The group was interested in the Nutrition Innovation Lab’s Aflacohort study, which had launched earlier in the summer. The Longitudinal birth cohort l study, consisting of 1675 mother-infant dyads in the Banke District, aims to examine how aflatoxin exposure in utero or early life affects birth outcomes and linear growth, and its subsequent impact on public health. As a part of study operations Enumerators from the Nutrition Innovation Lab’s team visit the mothers and newborns once during pregnancy and 6 times between birth and the child’s first year, collecting one blood sample from the mother and 3 from the child at various stages.
The government representatives were checking in to better understand the methods and process of the study, getting some of the numbers pertaining to the number of ultrasounds and blood draws that had been completed thus far. The officials were keen to inquire about the working relations between the Innovation Lab’s team and the Banke District Health Office, stressing the importance of a healthy working relationship and open communication. During their visit, the three officials were able to speak with an enumerator from the field team, review the questionnaire, and see how the anthropometric measurements were taken. There was a general air of excitement and positivity for the study, in anticipation for its results.
The Aflacohort study is expected to continue collecting data for another 18 months, and is moving swiftly with study data collection at different time points.
Stay up to date on the Aflacohort study by following the Nutrition Innovation Lab on Twitter, #Aflacohort.