In April 2014, scientific findings from two PATH projects – the Mama Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (Mama SASHA) project and the Infant and Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) project – were presented at the Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego, California. The conference is an annual meeting comprised of over 14,000 scientists from around the world and exhibitors representing six sponsoring societies and multiple guest societies. The conference brings together leading global nutrition scientists and public health nutrition practitioners. At the conference, the Mama SASHA and IYCN projects were highlighted in four oral presentations and four poster sessions.
These two Kenyan-designed and tested innovations offer health facility, community, and household solutions to promote maternal, infant and child health, and nutrition:
- The Mama SASHA project – led by the International Potato Center (CIP) and PATH’s Kenya Country Program – integrates agriculture and nutrition into prenatal healthcare to maximize the benefits of orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP). OFSP is an important source of energy and beta-carotene, also known as pro-Vitamin A, which is essential for mothers and young children.
- As part of the global IYCN project, PATH sought to reduce child malnutrition in the first 1000 days by engaging men and grandmothers to improve maternal dietary and infant and young child feeding practices.
Photo: PATH Stephanie Martin presents findings from the IYCN Project
Both projects demonstrated cross-program and multi-partner collaboration, and specifically:
- Strived for optimal integration into Kenya’s existing health care delivery system;
- Leveraged support through USAID’s APHIA II Western and APHIAPLUS Western platform projects in western Kenya;
- Developed collaborative partnerships at the local, national, and international levels;
- Included partnership with academic and research institutions;
- Employed rigorous evaluation designs, including formative studies to design locally appropriate interventions, process evaluation activities, and outcomes evaluations with comparison groups;
- Resulted in invitations for publication in special issues of highly renowned peer reviewed publications and a request for assembly of a future special symposium for Experimental Biology in 2015; and
- Demonstrated the value of producing and disseminating evidence of the highest scientific rigor.
Please contact Dr. Frederick Grant (firstname.lastname@example.org), Mama SASHA project coordinator, or Dr. Allison Bingham (email@example.com), Mama SASHA PATH studies representative, with any questions regarding the Mama SASHA Project. Please contact Denise Lionetti (firstname.lastname@example.org), MCHN Project Director, with any questions regarding the IYCN Project.