evidence-based blog of Filippo Dibari

Posts Tagged ‘Malawi’

A Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplement but Not Corn-Soy Blend Modestly Increases Weight Gain among 6- to 18-Month-Old Moderately Underweight Children in Rural Malawi

In Under-nutrition on April 19, 2014 at 9:07 am

by Thakwalakwa C, Ashorn P, Phuka J, Cheung YB, Briend A, Puumalainen T, Maleta K.

J. Nutr. November 1, 2010 vol. 140 no. 11 2008-2013



Although widely used, there is little information concerning the efficacy of corn-soy blend (CSB) supplementation in the treatment of moderate underweight in African children. Lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS), which have proven to be beneficial treatment for severely wasted children, could offer benefits to less severely affected individuals.

We conducted a clinical randomized trial to determine whether LNS or CSB supplementation improves weight gain of moderately underweight children. A total of 182 underweight [weight-for-age Z-score (WAZ) < −2] 6- to 15-mo-old children were randomized to receive for 12 wk a ration of 43 g/d LNS or 71 g/d CSB, providing 1189 and 921 kJ, respectively, or no supplementation (control). The primary outcome was weight change; secondary outcomes included changes in anthropometric indices, hemoglobin levels, and morbidity.

The body weight increases (mean ± SD) did not differ and were 620 ± 470, 510 ± 350, and 470 ± 350 g in the LNS, CSB, and control groups, respectively (P = 0.11). Compared with controls, infants and children in the LNS group gained more weight [mean (95% CI) = 150 g (0–300 g); P = 0.05] and had a greater increase in WAZ [0.33 (−0.02–0.65); P = 0.04]. Weight and WAZ changes did not differ between the control and CSB groups. In exploratory stratified analysis, the weight increase was higher in the LNS group compared with the control group among those with lower initial WAZ [250 g (60–430 g; P = 0.01].

Supplementation with LNS but not CSB modestly increases weight gain among moderately underweight children and the effect appears most pronounced among those with a lower initial WAZ.



Six-Month Mortality among HIV-Infected Adults Presenting for Antiretroviral Therapy with Unexplained Weight Loss, Chronic Fever or Chronic Diarrhea in Malawi

In Under-nutrition on November 25, 2012 at 8:14 am

by Monique van Lettow, Ann Åkesson, Alexandra L. C. Martiniuk, Andrew Ramsay, Adrienne K. Chan, Suzanne T. Anderson, Anthony D. Harries, Elizabeth Corbett, Robert S. Heyderman, Rony Zachariah, Richard A. Bedell

from PLOs November 19, 2012

(downlowad the paper)




In sub-Saharan Africa, early mortality is high following initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART). We investigated 6-month outcomes and factors associated with mortality in HIV-infected adults being assessed for ART initiation and presenting with weight loss, chronic fever or diarrhea, and with negative TB sputum microscopy.


A prospective cohort study was conducted in Malawi, investigating mortality in relation to ART uptake, microbiological findings and treatment of opportunistic infection (OIs), 6 months after meeting ART eligibility criteria.


Of 469 consecutive adults eligible for ART, 74(16%) died within 6 months of enrolment, at a median of 41 days (IQR 20–81). 370(79%) started ART at a median time of 18 days (IQR 7–40) after enrolment. Six-month case-fatality rates were higher in patients with OIs; 25/121(21%) in confirmed/clinical TB and 10/50(20%) with blood stream infection (BSI) compared to 41/308(13%) in patients with no infection identified. Median TB treatment start was 27 days (IQR 17–65) after enrolment and mortality [8 deaths (44%)] was significantly higher among 18 culture-positive patients with delayed TB diagnosis compared to patients diagnosed clinically and treated promptly with subsequent culture confirmation [6/34 (18%);p = 0.04]. Adjusted multivariable analysis, excluding deaths in the first 21 days, showed weight loss >10%, low CD4 count, severe anemia, laboratory-only TB diagnosis, and not initiating ART to be independently associated with increased risk of death.


Mortality remains high among chronically ill patients eligible for ART. Prompt initiation of ART is vital: more than half of deaths were among patients who never started ART. Diagnostic and treatment delay for TB was strongly associated with risk of death. More than half of deaths occurred without identification of a specific infection. ART programmes need access to rapid point-of-care-diagnostic tools for OIs. The role of early empiric OI treatment in this population requires further evaluation in clinical trials.

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Developmental outcomes among 18-month-old Malawians after a year of complementary feeding with lipid-based nutrient supplements or corn-soy flour.

In Under-nutrition on July 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Phuka JCGladstone MMaleta KThakwalakwa CCheung YBBriend AManary MJAshorn P.

Matern Child Nutr. 2012 Apr;8(2):239-48. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-8709.2011.00294.x. Epub 2011 Feb 22.



The major aim of this trial was to compare the development of 18-month-old infants who received complementary feeding for 1 year either with lipid-based nutrient supplements or micronutrient fortified corn-soy porridge. Our secondary aim was to determine the socio-economic factors associated with developmental outcomes in the same population. A total of 163 six-month-old rural Malawian children were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial where the control population received daily supplementation with 71 g corn-soy flour [Likuni Phala (LP)] (282 kcal) and individuals in the intervention groups received daily either 50 g of lipid-based nutrient supplement (FS50) (264 kcal) or 25 g of lipid-based nutrient supplement (FS25) (130 kcal). The main outcoe measures were Griffiths’ developmental scores at 0-2 years. Independent comparison of study groups was carried out using analysis of variance (ANOVA) statistics where mean raw scores, quotients, or mental ages were compared. Association of developmental outcome with predictor variables were examined using multiple regression. At 18 months of chronological age, the mean ± standard deviation (SD) mental ages in the LP, FS50, and FS25 groups were 17.9 ± 1.3, 17.9 ± 1.3, and 17.9 ± 1.2 (P > 0.99), respectively. Likewise, the mean raw developmental scores and mean developmental quotients did not differ significantly. Length-for-age z-score gain during the intervention period, and maternal education were associated with developmental outcome at 18 months (P = 0.03 and P = 0.04; respectively). In conclusion, rural Malawian infants receiving 12-month daily supplementation of their diet either with the tested lipid-based nutrient supplements or fortified corn-soy flour have comparable development outcomes by 18 months of age.

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