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Request advice: equipment to assess nutritional status 0-5 yrs in field study PNG

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Janny Goris

Senior Public Health Nutritionist

Normal user

28 Jul 2014, 02:00

Early 2015 I will be going as a volunteer to a very remote area in Papua New Guinea (PNG), a relatively remote outpost Kanabea in the Kaintiba District, in the highland fringe of the Gulf province, for a period of 1 month.The area has no or very limited power supply.My aim is to do a cross-sectional study and assess the nutritional status of children 0-5 years in 11 villages surrounding the Kanabea station. There are no roads in this remote area of PNG. All equipment needs to be carried in backpacks through the rainforest and on mountain paths. Measurements I aim to do include: age, sex, weight, height (or length in children under 24 months or under 87 cm in height), and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC). Question:What is the most appropriate weighing scale to use for all 0-5 yr old children in these conditions; precise, easy to use, highly portable, adapted to field conditions, durable, low cost?What is the most appropriate equipment to determine recumbent length (0-24 months) and measure standing height (24 months and over)Where can I obtain a reliable MUAC tape?Many thanks for your help.

Scott Logue

Normal user

31 Jul 2014, 13:56

Dear Janny,
SECA scales and Uniscales are the preferred type of scales to use for data collection in an anthropometric nutrition survey. Shorr boards are the preferred height boards. Many organizations such as ACF, MSF, UNICEF etc produce MUAC tapes. Please refer to the SMART methodology website, http://smartmethodology.org , for more information pertaining to anthropometric equipment and survey methodology (SMART is a cross-sectional methodology). If you have any follow up questions you can also post them on the SMART Forum section.

Dympna Leonard

public health nutritionist

Normal user

31 Jul 2014, 23:15

I worked in the Kanabea area in the late 1970’s. Malnutrition was very common especially among young children

Muac tapes are certainly the most portable but it would be useful to report on wfl/wfh as well. You may not be able to get dates of birth, so age will be estimates for wfa/lfa

As well as the anthropometric equipment, it would be useful to have a haemecue. Anaemia is certainly highly prevalent among women and children, and effective interventions are available now with multimicroutrient products

When I was there, there was a limited road network (probably more limited now) and most of our work was done by walking between villages. We were able to get assistance to carry equipment . Local people welcomed the opportunity to earn some some money.

I may be able to locate some historical data for you for comparison. if you are interested, please contact me directly.

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