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US launches aflatoxin and chronic malnutrition study in Mozambique

The government of the US, through its Agency for International Development, has launched a study to assess the relationship between aflatoxin exposure and chronic malnutrition in children, in a new effort to end chronic malnutrition in Mozambican children

Held in Nampula City, the event brought together leaders from each of the study’s participating districts including Angoche, Larde, Malema, Meconta, Mecuburi, Mogovolas, Moma, Monapo, Murrupula, and Rapale.

The US government is partnering in this US$1.7mn study with the Nutrition Innovation Lab at Tufts University, Universidade Lúrio, the National Institute of Health (INS), the Association of Nutrition and Food Safety, and the University of Georgia in the US. The results of the study will be used by the INS, the Ministry of Health, and others to inform future policy decisions related to nutrition and agriculture.

Agriculture represents 24 per cent of the Mozambican GDP and 80 per cent of the population depends on agricultural as a source of income. Some of the most commonly cultivated crops, such as maize, cassava, and groundnuts, are easily contaminated by aflatoxins.

Aflatoxins are found in many important staple crops such as maize and groundnuts in Mozambique, at levels that are linked to a number of health problems including malnutrition. Similar studies have found strong associations between aflatoxin exposure and stunted fetal, infant, and child growth, prompting nutrition experts to undertake the study in Mozambique.