Projects

Optima Nutrition

Undernutrition leads to approximately 159 million stunted children and three million (45 percent) child deaths per year.

There are six nutrition targets in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals:

  • A 40 percent reduction in the number of stunted children
  • A 50 percent reduction of anaemia in women of reproductive age
  • A 30 percent reduction in low birth weight
  • No increase in childhood overweight
  • An increase in exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months to above 50 percent
  • A reduction in childhood wasting to less than five percent.

Image: Optima Nutrition model

Optima Nutrition is an allocative efficiency model, which provides practical advice on how to allocate a limited budget across a range of nutrition-specific interventions to minimise stunting and mortality in children under five.

The model simulates children in a population from birth until five years of age who are classified according to breastfeeding practices, economic status and both height-for-age and weight-for-age status. Children in the model can die from a range of age- and risk-factor dependent causes, and are considered to be stunted if their height-for-age is below two standard deviations on the reference curve.

The model includes nutrition-specific interventions that directly or indirectly (e.g. through impact on diarrhoea incidence) target stunting:

  • multiple micronutrient supplementation and balanced energy protein supplementation for pregnant women
  • age-appropriate breastfeeding promotion
  • complementary feeding education
  • public provision of complementary foods, prophylactic zinc and vitamin A supplementation.

The current project involves expanding the initial model to include interventions such as:

  • prevention of anaemia and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) as outcomes
  • the impact of family planning
  • skilled birth attendance
  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions
  • rotavirus vaccine, oral rehydration solution and zinc treatment for severe diarrhoea
  • the fortification of foods.

Timeline

2016 - ongoing.

Collaborators

  • Dr Jolene Skordis
  • Dr Jakub Jan Kakietek
  • Dr Madhura Killedar
  • Dr Cliff Kerr
  • Dr Robyn Stuart
  • Kelsey Grantham
  • Optima Consortium for Decision Science
  • UCL
  • The World Bank

Funding

The World Bank

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Doctor Nick Scott

Econometrician

Telephone

+61385062410

Email

nick.scott@burnet.edu.au