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New Nutrition Knowledge Bank gives direct access to expert nutritional advice via mobile phones


Visit to villages outside of Dodoma, Tanzania

Tanzanian woman on her cell phone (photo credit: CCAFS/Cecilia Schubert).

A new open-access Nutrition Knowledge Bank has been created as part of a GSMA mNutrition initiative to help tackle malnutrition in Africa and Asia. This collection of content on good nutritional practices includes factsheets and mobile messages for anyone to download and use. Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the mNutrition project aims to deliver nutrition information to 3 million people in 12 developing countries.

Adequate nutrition is critical to the physical and mental development of children and to long-term human health, but one out of three people in developing countries suffers from micronutrient deficiency. Experts consider poor access to agricultural and health information a major barrier to the uptake of improved nutritional practises, particularly by women and vulnerable groups in marginalized areas.

mNutrition delivers content to people at risk of malnutrition in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. An expert consortium on nutritional matters—BMJ, CABI, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Oxfam International—is partnering with local organizations in these countries to produce useful and reliable nutritional, agricultural and health information, which is then distributed through mobile phone networks in each country.

The Nutrition Knowledge Bank is searchable by country and subject. The messages and factsheets are available in several local languages and take into account the differing cultural contexts. The topics covered include breastfeeding advice for new mothers, practical tips for rearing dairy cows and growing healthier crops for human consumption.

The groups who can make most use of the Nutrition Knowledge Bank include mobile network operators, agriculture and health ministries, agricultural support workers, community organizations and development practitioners. More content will be uploaded over time, providing continuous improvement of this new practical resource for directly helping people make informed choices that improve their nutrition wellbeing.

Charlotte Jordan, Nutrition Project Manager at CABI, says: ‘The Nutrition Knowledge Bank is a great resource for showcasing the diverse scope of content produced by local partners throughout the mNutrition Initiative. We hope content is adapted for a range of future projects and communication needs within and beyond the countries it covers.’

For more information about the Nutrition Knowledge Bank, see http://www.cabi.org/nutritionkb

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