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Exploring the broader costs and outcomes of a mother and community targeted behavioural intervention and improved safe child play practices in urban and rural Mali


Institute of Applied Health Research

About the Project

Ambitious and enthusiastic candidates are invited for one to two PhDs (self-funded or through an external fellowship application), starting any time between September 2020 and June 2021 (several intake times possible in this period). Part-time PhDs can be accommodated over a longer time-frame for Home/UK Students only

Title
Exploring the broader costs and outcomes of a mother and community targeted behavioural intervention to improve complementary food safety, hygiene, nutrition, and improved safe child play practices in urban and rural Mali

Background
Diarrhoea and stunting are leading causes of under-five morbidity and mortality in low and middle income countries (LMIC). Certain Sub-Saharan African countries, including Mali, suffer highest burdens of under-five morbidity and mortality. There is very little economic evidence about sanitation and hygiene programmes in general or on the cost-effectiveness of particular types of intervention.

Given the large role of enteric infection in causing diarrhoea, water, sanitation, and hygiene systems have been thoroughly explored for the abatement of under-five diarrhoea with mixed results, and are demanding on resources and budgets. As a lower cost alternative, novel integrated community interventions to improve complementary food safety, hygiene, and nutrition, and safer play practices, particularly among weaning age children, have been postulated, but require further exploration.

Through a large MRC funded cluster randomised controlled trial, we are examining the impact of a mother and community targeted behavioural intervention to improve complementary food safety, hygiene, nutrition, and improved safe child play practices in urban and rural Mali. The intervention will be evaluated through both quantitative means, such as measurements of indicators of malnutrition, diarrhoea, food, water and stool sampling to detect enteric infection; and qualitative means, such as ethnographies and focus group discussions. An economic evaluation will be undertaken as part of the study.

The study will take place in villages and cities across three of Mali’s provinces - 120 communities in the southern secure area of the country. The study is led by the University of Birmingham and Malian Governmental and Medical University, and in collaboration with international organizations such as the WHO, UNICEF, and WaterAid, and other British academic partners (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Loughborough University).

PhD Project
PhDs will examine the broader costs and outcomes associated with an intervention to improve complementary food safety, hygiene, nutrition, and improved safe child play practices in urban and rural Mali. This will include exploring methods to capture impacts on the wider household (e.g. on women’s decision-making regarding their health and hygiene and their children’s health and hygiene, in various family contexts). Various aspects of local context, with special attention to the differences between urban and rural settings will be important.

PhD students will primarily be based in the UK or Mali. There may be some opportunity to travel to Mali to take part in developing the project and data collection (subject to funding availability).

The PhDs will be suitable for those interested in conducting research in Health Economics or Economics, with a particular focus on Public Health. The ideal candidate will have a Masters degree in Health Economics or Economics. We also invite applicants with a background in other disciplines such as Public Health (or related, e.g. epidemiology, nutrition, WASH, psychology, etc.), or a clinical degree (e.g. MBBS or BSN), who are interested in undertaking training in Health Economics.

How to apply
Applications should be directed to . To apply, please send:
• A Detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
• A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities;
• Copies of your degree transcripts;
• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

Applicants will be required to attend an interview. This can be conducted by telephone or Skype

Funding Notes

Self Funded (or to support a strong candidate for fellowship application to external funding bodies). PhD fieldwork funds are provided through the project.

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