Child wasting is a key Sustainable Development Goal target and indicator. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 47 million children were already wasted (a life-threatening form of malnutrition). However, in specific countries, survey results on wasting have a variance of 10-20%, meaning that trends arising from these surveys are difficult to interpret. Several factors impact the consistency ofthese survey results, one of which is climate and seasonality.

We are pleased to partner with the Data for Children Collaborative and UNICEF to support a collaborative process to produce a time series of childhood wasting estimates, accounting for climate impacts and seasonality.

The project

This project sets out to establish if it is possible to use secondary (other existing) variables to estimate wasting where it has not been previously measured. This involves correcting the temporal inconsistencies in sampling, allowing for a more effective historical trend and subsequent projection to the future. There are plans for 3 modelling attempts to explore how to achieve this.

First, the research team will link stunting data that is also collected to prevalence of wasting between surveys based upon the hypothesis that stunting is an integration of past wasting and its variation between surveys gives an indication of past wasting intensity. It will be conducted across multiple countries including but not limited to Nigeria, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Bangladesh. Second, there will be a deep dive into the potential relationship between diverse spatial variables and wasting values using standard and Bayesian approaches.

More information on the project

This challenge is part of the Data for Children’s Impact Collaborations process that brings together data and expertise to help co-design a project to help solve this challenge.

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