Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Health Sciences

Advisor(s)

Maria Theresa Wessel

Theresa M. Enyeart Smith

Jeremy D. Akers

Abstract

The World Health Organization reports that severe acute malnutrition, one of the leading causes of death in the developing world, is not stressed enough on the international agenda, and few countries, have specific comprehensive policies to address it (World Health Organization [WHO], 2007). According to the Central Intelligence Agency (2013), Bolivia, is affected by severe acute malnutrition and is classified as the poorest nation in South America. La Paz, the seat of government, faces poverty, malnutrition, poor sanitation, and poor access to healthcare for impoverished people. The USA non-profit organization Child Family Health International (CFHI) in La Paz, has created a sustainable source of medical care for children in resource-poor settings. The purpose of this study was to conduct a needs assessment of child malnutrition in La Paz, Bolivia. The objectives of the research were: to determine the eating patterns of families by income, determine where most malnourished children live, and what major factors contribute to malnutrition in these regions; to determine what has been done by CFHI to address child malnutrition; to determine resources are available to malnourished children and the effectiveness of previous and current methods used; and to determine what can be done in the future. Data were collected through interviews with 16 adults in La Paz or El Alto connected with CFHI including health care providers, staff, parents, homestay families, and partnering NGOs’ staff. Participants answered questions about their nutritional habits and knowledge of resources and programs pertaining to child malnutrition. They were interviewed in person between July 5 and August 5, 2013. Results indicated professionals were focused on long-term solutions to child malnutrition emphasizing on education, while impoverished families focused on immediate everyday needs. All participants agreed on the importance of addressing severe acute malnutrition in the children of Bolivia.

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