Effect of locally made Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foo d (Mushpro Health Drink Powder – MHDP) for Treatment of Malnutrition on Children Aged 6 to 72 Months in Tri bal area of Amravati District of Maharashtra, India: A Randomized Control Trial

Vinod R. Wasnik 1*, Manoj Rathi 2
  1. MD (PSM) MBBS; Associate Professor in Department of Community Medicine Dr.Panjabrao Alias Bhausaheb Deshmukh Memorial Medical college, Shivaji Nagar, Amravati (Maharashtra), India
  2. MD (Pediatric) MBBS; Aashirwaad Children Hospital & P.G Institute, Mudholkar Peth Near Kuthe stop, Amravati District , Maharashtra, India
Corresponding Author: Dr. Vinod R. Wasnik Tel no: 0721-2552353 Fax no: 0721-2661742 Email: [email protected]
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Abstract

Introduction/Background: Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in children is a significant public health problem in India with associated increased morbidity and mortality. The current WHO recommendations on management of SAM are based on facility based treatment. Given the large number of children with SAM in India and the involved costs to the care-provider as well as the care-seeker, incorporation of alternative strategies like home based management of uncomplicated SAM is important.

Aim & Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of a locally made ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) Mushpro Health Drink Powder in decreasing malnutrition in Tribal area.

Methods/Study Design: Open-labeled Randomized Controlled trial

Eligibility criteria for participants: Children aged 6—72 months but not requiring hospitalization for severe malnutrition (SAM) and Moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) were considered eligible for study. Children less than 6 months were excluded as several of them were receiving breast milk. Also children having other diseases incriminated as a cause of severe malnutrition, including cerebral palsy, chromosomal malformation, known metabolic diseases, malignancies, congenital heart disorders, hemolytic anaemia, known malabsorption syndrome, or hepatic disorder were excluded.

Study Setting: Anganwadi centers’ run by ICDS program in tribal areas of Amravati District of Maharashtra. Interventions: Children with Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) in 26 Intervention Anganwadi centre received RUTF (MHDP) 3 gm/kg/per day (SAM) & 2 gm/kg/day MAM two times a day from October to December 2011. Children in the 27 Noninterventional Anganwadi centers’ did not receive Mushpro supplementation. For both the groups the supplementations as per ICDS protocol were given & both arms included continuation of family diets. Main outcome measures: Mean Weight gain and Mean Height gain.

Results / Findings: The Mean weight gain at 2 months was higher in the Intervention group (n=121): 1.7 gm/kg/day as compared to control group (n=123): 0.19 gm/kg/day kg (p < 0.000). The weight gain per kg body weight was directly proportional to severity of the malnutrition. Mean weight gain in gram per gay in experimental group and Mean Height gain in cms/ month in experimental group was more than National and International Standard. Mean weight gain in SAM was 755gm and in MAM was 656 gm amongst Experimental group while in control group in SAM 106 gm & MAM 79.6 gm.

Discussion/Conclusion: Community based treatment by locally made nutritious food MHDP showed significant weight gain and height gain in Experimental group than control group and proved to be more effective in management of SAM and MAM.

Keywords

Child Malnutrition, Tribal, MHDP, Weight gain, Height gain, Anganwadi centre.

Introduction / Background

The World Health Organization defines malnutrition as "the cellular imbalance between supply of nutrients and energy and the body's demand for them to ensure growth, maintenance, and specific functions. 1 Despite praiseworthy advances in economic prosperity and in the field of medical therapeutics, severe acute malnutrition (SAM) continues to be a significant public health problem in India. Approximately 8.1 million children under the age of 5 years (6.4%) suffer from severe acute malnutrition and it is one of the important co-morbidities leading to hospital admissions in our country 2. The mortality associated with severe acute malnutrition is also high, ranging from 73 to 187 per 1000.3
The World Health Organization defines malnutrition as "the cellular imbalance between supply of nutrients and energy and the body's demand for them to ensure growth, maintenance, and specific functions. 1 Despite praiseworthy advances in economic prosperity and in the field of medical therapeutics, severe acute malnutrition (SAM) continues to be a significant public health problem in India. Approximately 8.1 million children under the age of 5 years (6.4%) suffer from severe acute malnutrition and it is one of the important co-morbidities leading to hospital admissions in our country 2. The mortality associated with severe acute malnutrition is also high, ranging from 73 to 187 per 1000.3
The third National Family Health Survey estimated that 45.9% of Indian children and 33.2% of children below 3 years of age are underweight. 4 Mild-to-moderate malnutrition has been associated with an increased risk of childhood mortbidity.5,6 Home-based treatment has been recommended during the rehabilitation phase of treatment for malnutrition in areas where follow up is possible.7 The use of ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF) for the treatment of moderate malnutrition has been reported to result in an average weight gain of 12.7% over a period of 28 days in moderately malnourished children.8 Most children with SAM cannot be accommodated in hospitals; many families cannot afford their earning members to stay with their children in hospitals for many weeks. Efficacy trials will compare standard hospital care for SAM with community management far removed from real life situations of limited care.9 Can we refuse to provide an alternative when we are unable to provide standard hospitalized care to millions of children with severe acute malnutrition?
Currently available facilities for hospitalized care of children in India would be inadequate even if they were utilized exclusively for the treatment and rehabilitation of children with SAM. 10 Limitations in availability as well as access to facility based care, therefore, make community management of SAM a priority. In India the magnitude and serious consequences of SAM among children makes it unethical not to urgently initiate measures to prevent and treat SAM. Protecting lives and promoting optimum development of SAM children is also a human rights issue. Up to 15% under-5 children with SAM require inpatient management because of medical complications. The remaining 85% (without medical complications) can be managed through a community- and/or home-based care approach. There is an urgent need to update both facility and Home-based care recommendations for the management of SAM among children in India, on the basis of latest evidence. This trial was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of communitybased therapy with a locally produced RUTF (MHDP) for treatment of all grades malnutrition in children 6--72 months in tribal area of Amravati District of Maharashtra.

Aim & Objectives

To evaluate the effectiveness of a locally made ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) Mushpro Health Drink Powder in decreasing malnutrition in Tribal area.

Methods/ Study Design

Study design,Study population and sample Size:
This study was an open-labeled randomized controlled trial. The study was conducted from October 2011 to December 2011. The setting was Anganwadi centre in tribal area of Amravati district of Maharashtra. Anganwadis centres were randomly assigned to Experimental group and control group. The study protocol ICH 6.0 was approved by Independent Ethical committee including ethical clearance. The study procedure was fully explained to the parents/caregivers and informed written consent was obtained from primary care givers before initiation of study..
Sample size estimation:
A total of 244 children (121 in intervention group and 123 in non intervention group), assuming a 5% drop-out had 80% power to detect a difference of 50% of reduction in the proportion of malnutrition between groups, with an overall type I error of 5%. 270 children between the ages of 6 to 72 months were screened in 43 anganwadi centers. 250 children recruited after obtaining written informed consent. Six were later excluded. The unit of randomization was Anganwadi centre. Allocations into the study and control groups were done by lottery method. Baseline assessment of nutritional status was carried out immediately following recruitment.
Children aged 6—72 months but not requiring hospitalization for severe malnutrition were considered eligible for study. Children less than 6 months were excluded as several of them were receiving breast milk. Also children having other diseases incriminated as a cause of severe malnutrition, including cerebral palsy, chromosomal malformation, known metabolic diseases, malignancies, congenital heart disorders, hemolytic anaemia,known malabsorption syndrome, or hepatic disorder were excluded. The children received supplementation for two months from date of recruitment.
Baseline and anthropometric data were collected. Weight was measured to the nearest 100g on a regularly Salter scale with minimum clothing. Height was measured to the nearest 1 mm using standard measuring techniques; the mean of two readings was calculated for each child. Follow-up Weight and height measured at day 1,15,30,45 & day 60 after recruitment procedure. All anthropometric measurements were done by respective anganwadi workers under supervision of both Investigators.
The primary outcome of the study was weight gain in gram, gram per day and gram per kg per day and height gain in cms per months among SAM and MAM children.
Dietary Interventions:
Mushpro health drink powder is made up of perfect combination of mushroom ( Ostreatus Pleurotus species ) and other ingredients wheat flour and skimmed milk powder; some flavoring agents (cocoa powder etc) were added to make it palatable. Mushpro is approved by FDA Government of Maharashtra, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.
Nutritional composition of MHDP:
Chemical analysis to determine proximate composition of sample was carried out. It was done by ISO certified laboratory given in Fig 2,3,4 .Children with SAM & MAM in 27 Intervention Anganwadi centre received RUTF (Mushpro) 3 gm/kg/ for SAM & 2 gm/kg MAM two times a day. Children in the 26 Non-interventional Anganwadi centre did not receive MHDP supplementation. All children additionally continued to receive their normal diets, including one hot meal provided by the anganwadi every working day as part of ICDS Program & both arms included continuation of family diets.
Active supervision for conditions requiring medical or nutritional treatment was conducted weekly in all 43 study anganwadi centers. MHDP was given during the mid morning and mid afternoon according to standard doses. Recruitment was done on 1st of October 2011 and the intervention started from the 14th of October 2011. Measurements were taken on day 1, day 15, day 30, day 45 and day 60. Anthropometric indices were calculated using WHO growth standard. The frequency of follow-up visits were once a week. At each visit ICDS staff including Anganwadi worker, helper of Anganwadi workers and parents were recounselled about quantity and frequency of MHDP. Any medical problem identified during visit was treated.Measurment of weight and height was done at each visit.
Statistical analysis:
The data obtained were analyzed using SPSS software version 16.0 for Windows. Numerical variables were compared between the two groups by using the independent student’s test. For more than two groups ANOVA test was used.

Results / Findings

Of the 270 anganwadi children identified, 250 were recruited (Fig 1). Confirmation of dates of birth resulted in 6 children being excluded. 244 children were enrolled. At the end of the study, 244 children remained for follow-up, of whom 121 received nutritional supplementation (MHDP) and 123 did not receive nutritional supplementation. Table I shows the of majority (25.8%) of the study subject were in age group 13-24 months & 25-36 months followed by 37-48 months ( 15.6%) . 55.3% were Male while 44.7% were Female. 25% was SAM and 75% was MAM grade of malnutrition.
Table II shows the Mean weight gain was found to be 680 gm in experimental group while 82 gm in control group. Mean weight gain in gm per day 11.3 gm in experimental group while 1.3gm in control group and Mean weight gain gm per kg per day 1.7 gm/kg/day in experimental group while 0.19 gm/kg/day in control group. Mean height gain 0.92 cm per months in experimental group while 0.22 cm in control group. The age wise Mean weight gain per day in experimental group was found to be higher than control group and found to be highly significant in all age group except 6-12 months. The age wise Mean height gain per month in experimental group was found to be highly significant in all age group except 13-24 months. (Table-III)
The age wise Mean weight gain per day and mean height gain in experimental group was found to be higher than National and International standards shown in (Table-IV). Table V shows the mean weight gain in SAM was 755gm and in MAM was 656 gm amongst Experimental group while in control group in SAM 106 gm & MAM 79.6 gm. The mean weight gain gm per day in SAM 12.5gm /day, MAM 10.9 gm/day in Experimental group while control group in SAM 1.3 gm/day, MAM 1.7 gm/day. Weight gain was found to be statistically significant in Experimental group. The Weight gain was found to directly proportional to the severity of malnutrition.

Discussion

It was found that the Mean weight gain in 2 months was as follows: MHDP (n=121): The Mean weight gain at 2 months was higher in the Intervention group (n=123): 680 gm as compare to control group (n=123) 82 gm (SE=0.07; 95% CI 0.87-0.35) p < 0.001 (Highly Significant). The mean weight gain in our study was more than that of Azara Sneha Singh et al 11 (0.54kg), Sandige H et al 12 & Diop EI et al 13 Meta analysis report (Weight gain = 0.07 g/kg/d), Michael H Golden 14 weight gain on the CSB was 1.2 g/kg/d.
The mean weight gain in our study (1.7 g/kg/d) was less than that by Manary MJ et al.15 Meta-analyses (WMD= 2.10 g/ kg/day) , Bhutta ZA et al16 ( meta-analysis showed an advantage of weight gain of 3.0 g/kg/day), Amthor RE et al17, Jilcott SB et al 18, Linemann Z et al 19 , Ciliberto MA at al 20 4 studies metaanalytic methods the pooled mean weight gain with the use of RUTF was 3.2 g/kg/day (95% CI 3.06, 3.34 g/kg/d), Khanum et al. 21 ( 4 gm/kg/day) .
The Mean Height gain in present study was more than National and International Standard in the age group more than two years that is among Experimental group ( 0.93 cm per month) than Control group ( 0.22 cm per month).However it was less than in the age group less than two years. The appetites of children given zinc supplements improved and they started to catch up in height.22 from the realizations of catch up in height by the supplementation of zinc the theory of type I (functional nutrients) and type II nutrients was generated.23-25.
In an Indian setting, the community based treatment of malnutrition can fixed extensive application, and the involvement of Anganwadi workers and mothers groups in its delivery is a viable option.RUTF is used in the acute phase of rehabilitation and is prescribed as a therapeutic item. The effectiveness of cheaper locally designed ready to use nutrient dense foods is encouraging, and should stimulate the scientific community to design appropriate foods which are culturally acceptable in various parts of India as well as cost – effective. Community - based management using MHDP has reduced the cost, in terms of the cost per disability adjusted life year (DALY) gained, delivers cost effectiveness comparable to mainstream public health intervention. The study had limitations. The study is not ideal in that it was not blinded, but blinding would have been difficult for acceptable interventions.
Conclusion: locally made Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (Mushpro Health Drink Powder – MHDP ) showed significant weight gain and height gain in Experimental group. More effective in management of SAM and MAM children. This study showed that immediate therapeutic treatment for short duration of period is a feasible, effective and well-accepted intervention to combat moderate & severe malnutrition in tribal areas. Therefore most important is the need to communicate with policy planners the urgency to address the problem of severe and moderate malnutrition.
Recommendations:
Suggestion for Urgent future research includes:
1. Physiological recovery and longer benefits of the above treatments
2. Effect of introduction of MHDP on children with cerebral palsy.
3. Needs to study its feasibility and efficacy in different Indian settings
Ethical Consideration: The study protocol ICH 6.0 was approved by Independent Ethical committee including ethical clearance. The study procedure was fully explained to the parents/caregivers and informed written consent was obtained from primary care givers before initiation of the study.
Competing interests: There does not exist any conflict of interest what so ever.
Funding: NGO named Bahu-uddeshiya Arogya Va Samaj Kalyan Sanstha, Amravati, Maharashtra, INDIA.
Author Contribution: Conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data done by Dr.Wasnik Vinod and drafting the article & revising it critically for important intellectual content has been done by the author Dr Rathi Manoj.

Acknowledgement

First of all we would like to thanks to J S Mushroom for giving us permission for publication of this article. Authors also thanks to Bahu-uddeshiya Arogya Va Samaj Kalyan Sanstha, for making provision of funds for the conduct of study. We also thank to Divisional Commissioner, Amravati, Mr. Ganesh Thakur , who has been the source of strength & inspiration to complete this difficult task ,right from conceptualization of the research topic till writing down the study. We are thankful to Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Ashok Shukla; District Collector, District Health Officer, Civil surgeon, Deputy Commissioner (MCH), Child Development Project Officer, Anganwadi worker and their supervisors for their guidance and cooperation. We are deeply indebted to all participants who have given full cooperation throughout the study period, without whom this study would not have been possible. Thanking you all.
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