The International Malnutrition Task Force was launched at the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) 18th International Congress of Nutrition held in Durban in September 2005 by the IUNS President Professor Ricardo Uauy.
The IMTF has a two fold purpose:
- To raise the profile of malnutrition: Malnutrition contributes to 60% of deaths of children under 5, so reducing malnutrition is vital in child survival strategies. Although there are as many deaths from the effects of malnutrition as from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, malnutrition currently fails to receive the attention it warrants in health policies and resource allocation.
- To build capacity to prevent and treat malnutrition:In hospitals in developing countries, severely malnourished children comprise a significant proportion of paediatric deaths. Most deaths can be prevented by following treatment guidelines. Community-based treatment can reduce the burden of care on hospitals, shorten inpatient treatment and benefit children with moderate malnutrition.
Left:Malnutrition contributes to 60% of child deaths (WHO, 2002)
An integrated system of prevention, timely referral, correct inpatient treatment and effective community-based care will improve child survival and development and build health worker capacity and strengthen health systems.
The objectives of the International Malnutrition Task Force are:
- To establish three regional networks (South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America) to coordinate technical expertise and develop capacity-building partnerships
- To raise the profile of malnutrition among health policy makers and donor agencies and advocate for increased recognition of its importance in child survival
- To work with partners to build capacity to prevent and treat malnutrition, especially in countries with high child mortality
- To advocate for inclusion of malnutrition in medical and nursing curricula and for WHO case-management guidelines to be implemented in paediatric wards
- To facilitate the scaling-up of effective interventions to reduce malnutrition deaths
- To encourage health workers to undertake operational research to monitor and improve their performance and provide data for advocacy action
- To raise resources
- To publish and disseminate findings and experiences.
Governors and steering committee
The IMTF has a group of Governors who provide overall leadership and direction. They include:
- Professor Ricardo Uauy, International Union of Nutritional Sciences
- Professor Anna Lartey, International Union of Nutritional Sciences
- Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta, International Paediatric Association
- Professor Michael Krawinkel, International Paediatric Association
- Dr Lena Davidsson, IAEA
- Ms Zita Weise Prinzo, WHO
- Ms Ilka Esquivel, UNICEF
There is also a Steering Committee responsible for planning, implementing and reviewing activities of the Task Force in each of the regions, which includes:
- Professor Ann Ashworth, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK
- Professor Alan Jackson, University of Southampton, UK
Regional focal points:
- Dr Tahmeed Ahmed, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (South/Southeast Asia)
- Professor David Sanders, School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, South Africa (Sub-Saharan Africa)
- Dr Ana Maria Aguilar, Instituto de Investigaciones en Salud y Desarrollo Facultad de Medicina Universidad Mayor de San Andres, La Paz, Bolivia
The IMTF is hosted by the University of Southampton, which provides co-ordination, technical and administrative support for central activities.
The IMTF is a collaborative initiative. Partnerships form the basis of all activities.
The following organisations are already partners of the IMTF:
- International Paediatric Association
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
- Regional Centre for Quality of Health Care
- Latin America Nutrition Network
- Paediatric Association of Tanzania
- Valid International