A centre for nutrition, rehabilitation and research with a new treatment for malnourished children will be set up in Dharavi. LTMG Hospital, Sion, Compatible Technology International (CTI) a US-based non-governmental organisation involved in designing food and water technologies in developing world and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) have come together to start the centre.
“Under this project, we plan to treat malnourished children with a new diet formula. The formulation delivers high protein and calories in small volumes compared to the standard therapy,” said Dr Mamta Manglani, head of pediatrics department, LTMG Hospital, Sion.
Currently, the standard nutrition therapy, made of rice, dal, jaggery, milk and oil, is given along with vitamins and micronutrients to malnourished children in the hospital.
“The standard therapy takes longer to work and often children do not comply with treatment because the quantity of food ingested is larger,” said Dr Alka Jadhav, professor, LTMG Hospital, Sion.
The year-long study project will begin on February 1. About 300 malnourished children will be enrolled at the Dharavi urban health centre. One group of kids will have standard nutrition and the other the new medical nutrition therapy for six to eight weeks.
“If we notice a stark difference in the two groups, then we might switch to the therapy with better results,” said Manglani.
CTI is funding the project. “We will be taking care of the food technology part of the project and also train them,” said Professor Shivram Murty, project leader and volunteer, CTI.
IIT-B will deal with the production and quality control aspects of the project. “If some children are not able to deal with certain ingredients in the diet, then we will try to find alternatives,” said Professor Narendra Shah from Centre for Technology Alternative for Rural Areas, IIT Bombay and a principal investigator for the project.