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Emotional Stimulation in the Context of Emergency Food Intervention

Malnutrition has a devastating impact on children’s life chances; it is implicated in 50% of all deaths of under-fives worldwide and also affects children’s intellectual ability, capacity to learn and ability to make friends.

The introduction of emergency food supplements has led to huge increases in the rates of child survival in East Africa. Despite these improvements, 44% of children in Ethiopia are stunted (low height for age) and 10% are wasted (low weight for height).

Increasingly, research suggests that food interventions work better when they are combined with approaches that focus on strengthening the bond between mother and child. Our trial investigates the effectiveness of a simple play therapy (emotional stimulation) compared to a control intervention (nutrition education) on the recovery of 400 severely malnourished young children in Ethiopia.

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