DILI, 08 november 2023 (TATOLI) – Menzies School of Health Research, together with the Australia National University (ANU) and the key stakeholders discuss necessary preparations to carry out a-four-year Bacterial Enteropathy and Nutrition (BEN) study, in Timor-Leste.
Senior Researcher and Senior Technical Adviser of Menzies Timor-Leste, Dr. Nelson Martins, in a national workshop said that exchanging ideas with stakeholders is a crucial step to ensure the successful implementation of the BEN study.
Martins said that the workshop was a collaborative effort to define the target municipalities for the study.
At the same place, INSP-TL Representative Dr. Marck Magno Neves said that joint effort is crucial to combat malnutrition and stunting in the country.
Dr. Joanita Bendita Jong, National Veterinary Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, expressed her concern about the high prevalence of malnutrition and stunting in the country, saying that the BEN study is therefore important for addressing the issue in the future.
She said it was important to raise awareness about the importance of nutrient-rich foods and promote smart and healthy eating habits to combat malnutrition and stunting in the country.
The aim of the Bacterial Enteropathy and Nutrition (BEN) study is to find out the relationship between food-borne gastrointestinal infections in Timorese children aged under five and subsequent malnutrition and stunting.
It is a cross-sectional mixed-methods research with a refined methodology and it is also a mixed-methods research to examine the risk factors of food preparation and consumption and so on.
The four-year study will be carried out in three municipalities, namely Dili, Baucau and Ermera, between 2023 and 2027. The study to be funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
According to the Timor-Leste Food and Nutrition Survey 2020, the country has one of the highest prevalence’s of childhood stunting in the world. According to the report, 47% of Timorese children 0-59 months were stunted, 8.6% were wasted, and 32.4% were underweight.
ANU in collaboration with Menzies School of Health Research as the implementing partner, and collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Forestry (MALFF) along with other collaborative partners, will conduct research over the next four years to investigate the risk factors contributing to sever acute malnutrition (SAM) in children in Timor-Leste.
Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá
Editor: Filomeno Martins