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close this bookCommunity Assessment of Natural Food Sources of Vitamin A, Guidelines for an Ethnographic Protocol (International Nutrition Foundation for Developing Countries - INFDC, 1997, 141 pages)
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View the documentBackground and acknowledgments
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View the documentCommunity assessment of natural food sources of vitamin a: guidelines for an ethnographic protocol

Background and acknowledgments

The development of this manual for an ethnographic protocol to address a community assessment of natural food sources of vitamin A, is the result of input from many creative and talented people. The conception point for a project to devise this protocol was the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) Committee on Nutrition and Anthropology, with key people planning its goals and framework during a conference on rapid assessment procedures (RAP) in health-related programs which met in November, 1990, in Washington, D.C.

The project became an activity of the IUNS committee whose members were comprised of the following: Isabel Nieves (Guatemala) and Harriet Kuhnlein (Canada) as cochairs; Gretel Pelto (USA, WHO), Richard Young (Canada, IDRC), S. Abdel-Azim Wahba (Egypt), Cecelia Santos-Acuin (Philippines), P. Pushpamma (Singapore), K. Kalumba (Zambia), Ndolamb Ngokwey (Benin), Hilary Creed-Kanashiro (Peru), and L.H. Martinez Salgado (Mexico). The planning subcommittee became Kuhnlein, Pelto, Nieves and Young, and following communication and helpful suggestions from all committee members, it was agreed to create a draft protocol and to test it in five regions under the direction of Cecelia Santos-Acuin (Philippines), P. Pushpamma (India), Hilary Creed-Kanashiro (Peru), Li Wen Jun (China), and Lauren Blum (Niger).

A literature review was conducted and published from McGill University, School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, with the participation of S.L. Booth, T.A. Johns, H. Kuhnlein and I. Nieves. This was supported by the International Nutrition Foundation for Developing Countries (INFDC), and published as a series of articles in the Food and Nutrition Bulletin in 1992. In the meantime a proposal was created and funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada to McGill University for the development and testing of the protocol. The funding for publication of this manual and its companion volume (Culture, Environment and Food to Prevent Vitamin A Deficiency edited by Harriet V. Kuhnlein and Gretel H. Pelto) was by special arrangement between IDRC and INFDC. Special thanks for the efforts to secure funding go to Nevin Scrimshaw, Richard Young, P. Pushpamma and Janice Johnston.

Gretel Pelto, Pertti Pelto, and Lauren Blum (University of Connecticut, Department of Anthropology) created the first draft of the manual, and Lauren Blum tested sections in conjunction with her doctoral field work in Benin. A training workshop for field supervisors not familiar with ethnographic procedures was conducted by Pertti J. Pelto and Lauren Blum at McGill University in 1993. At this time it was recognized that other sections of the protocol related co-traditional food systems were needed, and these were created by Sarah Booth, Harriet Kuhnlein, and Tim Johns. The manual for field testing of the protocol was distributed in May 1993, and field testing commenced. Site visits were completed by Pertti Pelto and Harriet Kuhnlein. Field testing was completed in January of 1994; and at that time Pertti Pelto, Harriet Kuhnlein, Gretel Pelto, and Lauren Blum met to complete the revisions required from the field testing; following this, two external reviewers and the field supervisors submitted their final suggestions.

Special tributes are given to all who contributed to the field testing and report writing:

China-to the team who worked in Doumen Village, Kai Feng Municipality, Henan Province with supervision from the National Academy of Preventive Medicine, National Institute of Nutrition and Food Hygiene: Li Wen Jun. Ge Ke You, Li Dian, and Chang Su Ying.

India-to the team who worked in Sheriguda Village, Ranga Reddy District, Andra Pradesh, from the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad: P. Pushpamma, S. Vazir, Anjali, U. Nayak, Anita, Saroja, P. Vadyasagar, P. Prashanthi, K. Nara Simha Reddy, and V. Reddy.

Niger-to the team who worked with the Hausas of Filingué: Lauren Blum from the University of Connecticut, Department of Anthropology, with F. Abdou, F. Harouna and H. Abdou.

Peru-to the team who worked in Cajamarca with the rural community of Chamis and the urban surburb of San Vicente from the Instituto Nacional de Nutricion in Lima: Hilary Creed-Kanashiro and R. Narro.

Philippines-to the team who worked in both wet and dry seasons with the Aetas of Canawan, Morong, Bataan, from the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine, Manila, and the Center for Indigenous Medicine of De La Salle University College of Medicine, Das-marinas, Cavite: Cecelia Santos-Acuin, A. Troy Gepte IV, Justiniana Dedace, M. Folache, and F. E. Espino.

The authors and the members of IUNS Committee II-6 (1992-1994) sincerely thank all of the contributors to this manual. We hope it and its companion volume, noted above, will be useful in many ways for public health programs which address food solutions to vitamin A deficiency.

Harriet V. Kuhnlein, Ph.D., R.D. Centre for Nutrition and the Environment of Indigenous Peoples ((CINE)) Macdonald Campus, McGill University 21,111 Lakeshore Rd. Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec H9X 3V9 Canada