Improving Nutrition and Health of Vulnerable Communities in Pabra Countries; The Role of Micronutrient Rich Beans
M. Nyagaya; R. Zulu; M. M. Abang
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A poster presented at the 2012 Global Pulse Researchers Meeting, Kigali, Rwanda- “Transforming Grain-Legume Systems to Enhance Nutrition and Livelihoods”. Abstract: Iron, vitamin A, zinc and protein are the most common nutritional deficiencies in Africa. PABRA has developed new bean varieties with enhanced levels of iron and zinc that are high yielding, early-maturing, and are culturally accepted as a regular dietary component. In this poster, we describe efforts to introduce micronutrient rich beans to improve food security, nutrition and health of vulnerable communities. Baseline surveys evaluated subjective and objectives measures of food security and nutrition status. Food access scales, dietary diversity scores and food frequency tables were used to determine dietary quality and food sources. Only 8% of the 1260 households surveyed in western Kenya, southern Uganda and Rwanda perceived that they had enough to eat. 35% of women showed signs of anemia and 43.5% of the 170 children measured showed signs of under nutrition. Interventions initiated included multiplication and dissemination of seed by partners, short-term training on utilization of bean based food baskets, improved recipes and cooking methods, bean food combinations and snack food options. Demonstration farms were also established and extension materials with agricultural, nutrition and health information promoted. The frequency of bean consumption in the 3 countries increased from 1 to 3 times a week to 3 to 4 times a week, leading to increased dietary diversity scores from 2 to 3. Nutrition status of 3500 households was influenced, impacting approximately 21,000 people over a period of 11 months. Consumption of micronutrient rich beans shows potential to improve nutrient intake and objectives measures of nutritional status. Strategic issues for enhancing impact include strengthening and expanding mechanisms for seed delivery and public awareness in partnership with the health sector.