Locally recruited teams, supervisors, district health authorities and community stakeholders took part in a practical exercise of the procedures for implementing Phase 2 of the Nutrilao project: collection of anthropometric and socio-economic data, blood sampling to assess anaemia and micronutrient status, and distribution of anthelmintic treatment and nutritional bars to the 300 women enrolled in the study.
Key aspects of the exercise also included setting up and checking the correct operation of all study equipment, such as scales, and training team members in the correct recording of study data.
The goal of NutriLao phase 2 is to assess the nutritional impact of fortified food bars. It will include 300 women in rural Laos who will be followed for four months to assess changes in their micronutrient status and haemoglobin concentrations.
The project - also known by its official title "Development of locally produced ready-to-use supplements to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable groups in Laos" - is led by IRD researchers, accompanied by researchers from the University of Health Sciences (Lao PDR) and Chiang Mai University (Thailand), supported by local teams including research assistants from the communities studied, and based on the nutritional bars produced by the social enterprise Maï Savanh Lao, with which the researchers are working in close collaboration.
This second phase of the project follows a successful acceptability study earlier this year, during which the research team identified the bar recipes most appealing to women and children in the Ban Keun study area.