RELOAD-PhD student awarded for best presentation

Mr. Sirawdink Fikreyesus Forsido from Jimma University, Ethiopia, presented his work at the 7th Jimma University annual research conference, which took place on March 31 and April 1, 2016. He won an award for the best oral presentation for his presented work on nutritional diversity.

The Jimma University annual research conference is a well-known event in Ethiopia, attended by multiple stakeholders from all over the country. At this occasion, Mr. Forsido presented results from his PhD studies in RELOAD.

His work aims at optimizing the nutritional value of traditional starchy staple foods by upgrading them with dried vegetables, fruits and animal products, and at developing food combinations and innovative products to meet nutritional needs of children below two years of age in consultation with their mothers and other relevant stakeholders.

The presented work on “Diversity, Composition and Nutrient Adequacy of Diets of Lactating Mothers in Jimma Zone, Southwest Ethiopia” is an important first step in this direction. Optimal nutrition during lactation is important for the health and wellbeing of the mother and the infant, not only to avoid obvious undernutrition, but also to provide sufficient micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals for the child’s healthy development. Hence, the possibility of mothers to access sufficiently diverse, nutrient-rich foods during lactation is critical.

Mr. Forsido’s presented work relied on a community-based survey with participation of 558 mothers. It was carried out in three districts of Jimma Zone from March to May, 2014. The foods consumed were recorded in order to calculate dietary diversity and nutritional adequacy.

The results show that the diversity, composition and nutrient adequacy of diets of lactating mothers in the study area were below the recommendations. All the commonly consumed foods were not sufficient to meet the energy, fat and protein requirements of lactating mothers. On the other hand, the micronutrient supply was in many cases sufficient.

Hence, a community-based nutritional education targeting the main constraints faced by mothers to access food items needed during lactation could be a key entry point for improving the situation of mothers and children alike.