Malnutrition – how Kit Yamoyo helps

This is probably the most simple equation in the world:

Nutrients absorbed = Nutrients eaten - Nutrients lost

Add to this the fact that a child becomes malnourished when they do not absorb sufficient nutrients and you have the basis for approaching the problem of malnutrition and the stunting it causes. The key thing to note here is that it’s not just about what the child eats. If you take two children on the same diet is it quite possible for one to be malnourished and the other not, if one of the children is losing more nutrients than other through chronic diarrhoea for example.

Kit Yamoyo contributes positively to this equation in at least four ways:

  1. It includes an essential micro-nutrient – Zinc – that many African children are deficient in. So it adds to ‘Nutrients eaten’.
  2. The appetite of a Zinc-deficient child is increased when Zinc supplements are taken. So, assuming more food is available, the child will eat (or suckle) more. So Kit Yamoyo can contribute even more to the ‘Nutrients eaten’ part of the equation.
  3. Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system and there is emerging evidence that Kit Yamoyo – the combined use of ORS and Zinc – breaks children out of a chronic diarrhoea situation in a way that ORS alone does not. See this video interview with a Clinical Officer in Charge in one of our target communities – Gladys. What Gladys has observed is that when the clinic gives ORS (only) the children often come back. When they have Kit Yamoyo “they are gone for good.” she says. So Kit Yamoyo contributes to reducing ‘Nutrients lost’
  4. And, Kit Yamoyo includes soap and research published today links hand washing and clean water to reduced stunting in children. Again this would be from a reduced disease burden which is likely to reduce appetite and increase nutrient loss.

Zambia has one of the highest levels of stunting in the world with 46% of children under 5 stunted. It is as high as 70% in some areas. A child stunted before the age of 2 will not reach its mental or physical development potential.

So, in treating diarrhoea, Kit Yamoyo has a big potential all-round impact on child nutrition. The DfID funding for the COTZ Trial comes from their child nutrition programme in Zambia.