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Developing a context-relevant psychosocial stimulation intervention to promote cognitive development of children with severe acute malnutrition in Mwanza, Tanzania
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  • Cecilie Louise Jensen,
  • E. Sanga,
  • H. Kitt,
  • G. Praygod,
  • H. Kunzi,
  • T. Setebe,
  • Suzanne Filteau,
  • J. Webster,
  • Melissa Gladstone,
  • M. F. Olsen
Cecilie Louise Jensen
Kobenhavns Universitet Institut for Idrat og Ernaring
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E. Sanga
National Institute for Medical Research Mwanza Research Centre
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H. Kitt
University of Liverpool
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G. Praygod
National Institute for Medical Research Mwanza Research Centre
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H. Kunzi
National Institute for Medical Research Mwanza Research Centre
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T. Setebe
National Institute for Medical Research Mwanza Research Centre
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Suzanne Filteau
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health
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J. Webster
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
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Melissa Gladstone
University of Liverpool
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M. F. Olsen
Kobenhavns Universitet Institut for Idrat og Ernaring

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

More than 250 million children will not meet their developmental potential due to poverty and malnutrition. Psychosocial stimulation (PS) has shown promising effects for improving development in children exposed to severe acute malnutrition (SAM) but programs are rarely implemented. In this study, we used qualitative methods to inform the development of a PS programme to be integrated with SAM treatment in Mwanza, Tanzania. We conducted in-depth interviews with seven caregivers of children recently treated for SAM and nine professionals in early child development. We used thematic content analysis and group feedback sessions and organised our results within the Nurturing Care Framework. Common barriers to stimulate child development included financial and food insecurity, competing time demands, low awareness about importance of responsive caregiving and stimulating environment, poor father involvement, and gender inequality. Caregivers and professionals suggested that community-based support after SAM treatment and counselling on PS would be helpful, e.g. how to create homemade toys and stimulate through involvement in everyday chores. Based on the findings of this study we developed a context-relevant PS programme. Some issues identified were structural highlighting the need for programmes to be linked with broader supportive initiatives.