Other affiliations: Columbia University
Bio: Nita Dalmiya is an academic researcher from UNICEF. The author has contributed to research in topics: Population & Micronutrient. The author has an hindex of 12, co-authored 20 publications receiving 692 citations. Previous affiliations of Nita Dalmiya include Columbia University.
TL;DR: In examining the effect of sex on the economic and social costs of micronutrient deficiencies, the paper found that there is also an urgent need for increased effort to demonstrate the cost of these deficiencies, as well as the benefits of addressing them, especially compared with other health and nutrition interventions.
Abstract: Vitamin and mineral deficiencies adversely affect a third of the world's people. Consequently, a series of global goals and a serious amount of donor and national resources have been directed at such micronutrient deficiencies. Drawing on the extensive experience of the authors in a variety of institutional settings, the article used a computer search of the published scientific literature of the topic, supplemented by reports and published and unpublished work from the various agencies. In examining the effect of sex on the economic and social costs of micronutrient deficiencies, the paper found that: (1) micronutrient deficiencies affect global health outcomes; (2) micronutrient deficiencies incur substantial economic costs; (3) health and nutrition outcomes are affected by sex; (4) micronutrient deficiencies are affected by sex, but this is often culturally specific; and finally, (5) the social and economic costs of micronutrient deficiencies, with particular reference to women and female adolescents and children, are likely to be considerable but are not well quantified. Given the potential impact on reducing infant and child mortality, reducing maternal mortality, and enhancing neuro-intellectual development and growth, the right of women and children to adequate food and nutrition should more explicitly reflect their special requirements in terms of micronutrients. The positive impact of alleviating micronutrient malnutrition on physical activity, education and productivity, and hence on national economies suggests that there is also an urgent need for increased effort to demonstrate the cost of these deficiencies, as well as the benefits of addressing them, especially compared with other health and nutrition interventions.
TL;DR: Although knowledge gaps exist, several strategies show promise for improving coverage of effective interventions-and, in some cases, health outcomes in children-including expanded roles for lay health workers, task shifting, reduction of financial barriers, increases in human-resource availability and geographical access, and use of the private sector.
Abstract: Implementation of innovative strategies to improve coverage of evidence-based interventions, especially in the most marginalised populations, is a key focus of policy makers and planners aiming to improve child survival, health, and nutrition. We present a three-step approach to improvement of the effective coverage of essential interventions. First, we identify four different intervention delivery channels—ie, clinical or curative, outreach, community-based preventive or promotional, and legislative or mass media. Second, we classify which interventions' deliveries can be improved or changed within their channel or by switching to another channel. Finally, we do a meta-review of both published and unpublished reviews to examine the evidence for a range of strategies designed to overcome supply and demand bottlenecks to effective coverage of interventions that improve child survival, health, and nutrition. Although knowledge gaps exist, several strategies show promise for improving coverage of effective interventions—and, in some cases, health outcomes in children—including expanded roles for lay health workers, task shifting, reduction of financial barriers, increases in human-resource availability and geographical access, and use of the private sector. Policy makers and planners should be informed of this evidence as they choose strategies in which to invest their scarce resources.
TL;DR: Polio NIDs provide an entry point for the sustainable provision of vitamin A supplements with routine immunization services and demonstrate how immunization campaigns can be used for the delivery of other preventive health services.
Abstract: In 1988 the 41st World Health Assembly committed WHO to the goal of global eradication of poliomyelitis by 2000 "in ways which strengthen national immunization programmes and health infrastructure". The successful use of polio National Immunization Days (NIDs) to deliver vitamin A is an example of how polio eradication can serve as a platform to address other problems of child health. Importantly, this integration is helping to achieve the World Summit for Children goal of eliminating vitamin A deficiency by the year 2000. It is estimated that between 140 million and 250 million preschool children are at risk of subclinical vitamin A deficiency. In 1998 more than 60 million children at risk received vitamin A supplements during polio national immunization days (NIDs). While food fortification and dietary approaches are fundamental to combating vitamin A deficiency, the administration of vitamin A supplements during NIDs helps raise awareness, enhance technical capacity, improve assessment and establish a reporting system. Moreover, polio NIDs provide an entry point for the sustainable provision of vitamin A supplements with routine immunization services and demonstrate how immunization campaigns can be used for the delivery of other preventive health services.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors provide guidance on the use and interpretation of serum retinol (SROL) distributions as indicators of both programme impact and adequate vitamin A intake in a population.
Abstract: Objective Developing countries have adopted universal, high-potency vitamin A (VA) supplementation and food fortification as major strategies to control deficiency, prevent nutritional blindness and reduce child mortality. Yet questions persist regarding how best to measure impact and when to phase out supplementation. The present paper provides guidance on the use and interpretation of serum retinol (SROL) distributions as indicators of both programme impact and adequate VA intake in a population. Design We reviewed extant data on SROL's response to high-potency VA supplementation and VA-fortified foods in children. Results Supplementation virtually eliminates xerophthalmia and reduces child mortality; however, it shifts the SROL distribution only transiently (<2 months). Regular consumption of VA-fortified foods prevents xerophthalmia, lowers mortality and sustainably improves SROL distributions, from which both compliance and public health impact can be inferred. Conclusions Given SROL's limited responsiveness to high-potency VA supplementation, target population coverage remains the preferred performance indicator. However, periodic SROL surveys do reflect underlying dietary risk and can guide programming: low or marginal SROL distributions in areas with high supplementation coverage do not signify programme failure, but rather suggest the need to continue supplementation while working to effectively raise dietary VA intakes. We propose that a sustained rise in the SROL distribution, defined as ≤5 % prevalence of SROL < 0·70 μmol/l among vulnerable population groups in at least two consecutive surveys (≥1 year apart), be used as an indicator of stable and adequate dietary VA intake and status in a population, at which point programmes may re-evaluate the need for continued universal supplementation.
TL;DR: Replacing iron–folic acid supplements with multiple micronutrient supplements in the package of health and nutrition interventions delivered to mothers during pregnancy will improve the impact of supplementation on birthweight and on child growth and development.
Abstract: Background. An independent Systematic Review Team performed a meta-analysis of 12 randomized, controlled trials comparing multiple micronutrients with daily iron –folic acid supplementation during pregnancy. Objective. To provide an independent interpretation of the policy and program implications of the results of the meta-analysis. Methods. A group of policy and program experts performed an independent review of the meta-analysis results, analyzing internal and external validity and drawing conclusions on the program implications. Results. Although iron content was often lower in the multiple micronutrient supplement than in the iron–folic acid supplement, both supplements were equally effective in tackling anemia. Community-based supplementation ensured high adherence, but some mothers still remained anemic, indicating the need to concomitantly treat infections. The small, significant increase in mean birthweight among infants of mothers receiving multiple micronutrients compared with infants of mothers receiving iron-folic acid is of similar magnitude to that produced by food supplementation during pregnancy. Larger micronutrient doses seem to produce greater impact. Meaningful improvements have also been observed in height and cognitive development of the children by 2 years of age. There were no significant differences in the rates of stillbirth, early neonatal death, or neonatal death between the supplemented groups. The nonsignificant trend toward increased early neonatal mortality observed in the groups receiving multiple micronutrients may be related to differences across trials in the rate of adolescent pregnancies, continuing iron deficiency, and/or adequacy of postpartum health care and merits further investigation. Conclusions. Replacing iron–folic acid supplements with multiple micronutrient supplements in the package of health and nutrition interventions delivered to mothers during pregnancy will improve the impact of supplementation on birthweight and on child growth and development.
TL;DR: This work states that estimated prevalence rates and patterns remain tenuous because measuring food security, an elusive concept, remains difficult.
Abstract: Food security is a growing concern worldwide. More than 1 billion people are estimated to lack sufficient dietary energy availability, and at least twice that number suffer micronutrient deficiencies. Because indicators inform action, much current research focuses on improving food insecurity measurement. Yet estimated prevalence rates and patterns remain tenuous because measuring food security, an elusive concept, remains difficult.
TL;DR: It is widely accepted that intervention in the first 1,000 days is critical to break the cycle of malnutrition; however, a coordinated, sustainable commitment to scaling up nutrition at the global level is still needed.
Abstract: Micronutrients are essential to sustain life and for optimal physiological function. Widespread global micronutrient deficiencies (MNDs) exist, with pregnant women and their children under 5 years at the highest risk. Iron, iodine, folate, vitamin A, and zinc deficiencies are the most widespread MNDs, and all these MNDs are common contributors to poor growth, intellectual impairments, perinatal complications, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Iron deficiency is the most common MND worldwide and leads to microcytic anemia, decreased capacity for work, as well as impaired immune and endocrine function. Iodine deficiency disorder is also widespread and results in goiter, mental retardation, or reduced cognitive function. Adequate zinc is necessary for optimal immune function, and deficiency is associated with an increased incidence of diarrhea and acute respiratory infections, major causes of death in those <5 years of age. Folic acid taken in early pregnancy can prevent neural tube defects. Folate is essential for DNA synthesis and repair, and deficiency results in macrocytic anemia. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness worldwide and also impairs immune function and cell differentiation. Single MNDs rarely occur alone; often, multiple MNDs coexist. The long-term consequences of MNDs are not only seen at the individual level but also have deleterious impacts on the economic development and human capital at the country level. Perhaps of greatest concern is the cycle of MNDs that persists over generations and the intergenerational consequences of MNDs that we are only beginning to understand. Prevention of MNDs is critical and traditionally has been accomplished through supplementation, fortification, and food-based approaches including diversification. It is widely accepted that intervention in the first 1,000 days is critical to break the cycle of malnutrition; however, a coordinated, sustainable commitment to scaling up nutrition at the global level is still needed. Understanding the epidemiology of MNDs is critical to understand what intervention strategies will work best under different conditions.
TL;DR: Anaemia is disproportionately concentrated in low socioeconomic groups, and that maternal anaemia is strongly associated with child anaemia, and the epidemiology, clinical assessment, pathophysiology, and consequences of anaemia in low-income and middle-income countries are reviewed.
Abstract: Anaemia affects a quarter of the global population, including 293 million (47%) children younger than 5 years and 468 million (30%) non-pregnant women. In addition to anaemia's adverse health consequences, the economic effect of anaemia on human capital results in the loss of billions of dollars annually. In this paper, we review the epidemiology, clinical assessment, pathophysiology, and consequences of anaemia in low-income and middle-income countries. Our analysis shows that anaemia is disproportionately concentrated in low socioeconomic groups, and that maternal anaemia is strongly associated with child anaemia. Anaemia has multifactorial causes involving complex interaction between nutrition, infectious diseases, and other factors, and this complexity presents a challenge to effectively address the population determinants of anaemia. Reduction of knowledge gaps in research and policy and improvement of the implementation of effective population-level strategies will help to alleviate the anaemia burden in low-resource settings.
TL;DR: The acronym PROGRESS is a framework and aide-memoire that is useful in ensuring that an equity lens is applied in the conduct, reporting, and use of research.
Abstract: Objectives To assess the utility of an acronym, place of residence, race/ethnicity/culture/language, occupation, gender/sex, religion, education, socioeconomic status, and social capital (“PROGRESS”), in identifying factors that stratify health opportunities and outcomes. We explored the value of PROGRESS as an equity lens to assess effects of interventions on health equity. Study Design and Setting We assessed the utility of PROGRESS by using it in 11 systematic reviews and methodological studies published between 2008 and 2013. To develop the justification for each of the PROGRESS elements, we consulted experts to identify examples of unfair differences in disease burden and an intervention that can effectively address these health inequities. Results Each PROGRESS factor can be justified on the basis of unfair differences in disease burden and the potential for interventions to reduce these differential effects. We have not provided a rationale for why the difference exists but have attempted to explain why these differences may contribute to disadvantage and argue for their consideration in new evaluations, systematic reviews, and intervention implementation. Conclusion The acronym PROGRESS is a framework and aide-memoire that is useful in ensuring that an equity lens is applied in the conduct, reporting, and use of research.
TL;DR: Physicians seeking systematic treatments for their patients might consider testing urinary organic acids to determine how best to treat mitochondrial diseases and dysfunction, and antioxidant therapies hold promise for improving mitochondrial performance.
Abstract: Since the first mitochondrial dysfunction was described in the 1960s, the medicine has advanced in its understanding the role mitochondria play in health, disease, and aging. A wide range of seemingly unrelated disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, migraine headaches, strokes, neuropathic pain, Parkinson's disease, ataxia, transient ischemic attack, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetes, hepatitis C, and primary biliary cirrhosis, have underlying pathophysiological mechanisms in common, namely reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage, resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction. Antioxidant therapies hold promise for improving mitochondrial performance. Physicians seeking systematic treatments for their patients might consider testing urinary organic acids to determine how best to treat them. If in the next 50 years advances in mitochondrial treatments match the immense increase in knowledge about mitochondrial function that has occurred in the last 50 years, mitochondrial diseases and dysfunction will largely be a medical triumph.