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News and notes

New UNU associated institutions
Conference and workshop proceedings
Future meetings and workshops
New publication

New UNU associated institutions

The Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University (INMU), in Thailand, will become an Associated Institution of the United Nations University on 1 July, following the UNU Council's approval of the association in December 1979.

The Institute of Nutrition was established in 1977 within Mahidol University upon the recommendation of the National Economic and Social Development Board. Its present activities are located in the Research Centre of the Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital. One of its main purposes is to develop undergraduate and graduate nutrition education, training, and research. It has developed a comprehensive programme in all of these areas, including post-graduate instruction on the master's level and an evolving Ph.D. degree programme. Larger facilities for the Institute are being constructed at Mahidol University's Salaya campus.

In collaboration with various institutes in Thailand such as the Faculty of Medicine of Ramathibodi Hospital and the Institute of Food Research and Product Development of Kasetsart University, INMU has developed a broad spectrum of courses, laboratory training, field experience, and research relevant to the UNU-WHP sub-programme on Human Nutritional Needs and Their Fulfilment through Local Diets These range from sophisticated studies of human metabolism and field assessment of human requirements through laboratory study of food composition, contaminants, and toxicology to the formulation and evaluation of new products from indigenous foods. Many of these projects have relevance to food and nutrition policy and/or planning in the field of post-harvest food conservation. Information gained from these projects is often integrated into the Thai Government's programmes through the Institute's membership on both the National Food and Nutrition Committee and the Food and Nutrition Research Committee of the National Research Council.

Initially the Institute will train from four to six qualified Fellows of the UNU World Hunger Programme in individually tailored programmes of from nine months to two years' duration. The applicability of each programme to an advanced degree will depend on the individual's circumstances. The Institute plans to broaden its base to include other disciplines whose activities are relevant to the multifactorial nature of food and nutrition.

The Universidad del Valle, in Cali, Colombia (UVC), became an Associated Institution of the United Nations University on 31 March.

The Universidad del Valle was founded in 1945. Among its objectives is the development of the south-west region of Colombia, where it is located. The university consists of. seven academic and administrative divisions, one of which is the Health Division, founded in 1969. The objectives of the Health Division are medical training and research; specifically it is engaged in the design and promotion of health care systems in western Colombia. The division has a professional staff of 230. At the undergraduate level, it offers courses in the fields of medicine, nursing, physical therapy, clinical laboratory work, and dentistry. Graduate courses are offered in 15 clinical specialities and six basic disciplines. Some faculty members in the divisions of Humanities, Engineering, and Science are also concerned with food and nutrition problems. A number of interdisciplinary health programmes have been established at the community level and are being implemented through government health care programmes. The library facilities of the division include some 15,000 books and about 1,300 titles of periodicals.

The Universidad del Valle has pursued research activities in nutrition since 1958. The University Nutrition Project (UNP) started in 1973 with the objective of developing methodologies for the diagnosis and analysis of the causes of malnutrition in Colombia and for more effective transfer of the results to decision-makers. UNP now employs 15 full-time professionals from such fields as nutrition, systems analysis, economics, and planning. This project is engaged in a number of research and training projects under the National Food and Nutrition Plan, including work on nutrition and infection, malnutrition, learning and behaviour, effects of parasites on absorption, endemic goitre, nutrition and work performance, and nutritional anaemia.

The purpose of the UNU association with UVC is to develop a multi-disciplinary training programme that will give UNU Fellows a broad understanding of the multiple causation of hunger and malnutrition and the kinds of policies and programmes needed to combat it, as well as to provide training and experience in sub-programme areas. In addition the World Hunger Programme has made three grants to UVC for research on Post-harvest Food Losses, Proposal for the Investigation of Small Farm Production Systems, and Protein Requirement for Young Colombian Adults (cross-over diets).

The following institutions have agreed to become significantly involved in the UNU-UVC training and research programme in a substantive and continuing manner: the Foundation for Education in the Sciences (FUNDAEC), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, the Foundation for Human Ecology, the Cali Muncipal Health Unit, the National Nutrition Plan (PAN), and the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare regional office for the Valle Region (ICBF).


An International Colloquium on the Post-harvest Conservation of Food in the Humid Tropics was held at the University of Yaoundé, in the United Republic of Cameroon, 5 10 November 1979, under the joint sponsorship of the AUPELF (Association of Partially or Wholly French-Language Universities;, the Agence de coopération culturelle et technique (ACCT), and the United Nations University. The colloquium, at which nearly all the French-speaking African countries were represented, with more than 80 participants, examined several aspects of the post-harvest conservation of food in tropical conditions, with three main sub-themes: post-harvest risks; conservation of the nutritional value of food; and conservation technologies in rural Africa, i.e., drying or cooling through the use of solar energy. Presentations included specialized papers on the improvement of methods and technologies of harvest protection; the conservation of maize; the methodology for the study of conserved food in the highlands of Western Cameroon; the traditional technology of food preservation in Cameroon and in Togo; and the influence of traditional technologies on the nutritional value of sorghum and of cotton seed. The opportunities for cooling and drying offered by solar energy were reviewed in the context of Africa (Senegal, Malil, for the conservation of fish and of cassava especially.

Beyond the scientific aspects of post-harvest conservation of food, and more generally the problem of the food-agriculture interface, this colloquium was intended to promote an increased awareness among African researchers of the need for an Africanization of technological research in universities, and to exchange information with researchers working on the same topics in neighbouring countries. Developing countries cannot afford to spread their scarce research resources thinly and they have to work jointly through networks. African governments are urging their universities to promote needs-oriented research, which will be best undertaken through regional or international networks.

Conference and workshop proceedings

The proceedings of an IUNS Conference on Practical Approaches to Combat Malnutrition with Special Reference to Mothers and Children, held in Cairo, 25 - 29 May 1977, is now available at no cost for interested persons in developing countries. Edited by Dr. Nevin Scrimshaw and Dr. Mamdouh Gabr, the book addresses nutritional problems common among mothers and children in Africa, Asia, India, Latin America, the Middle East, and the West Indies. Its purpose is to share information on research and methods being applied in various centres to prevent malnutrition and disease under prevailing conditions and suggests areas for future research.

The book may be obtained by writing to: The UN University World Hunger Programme, Cambridge Office, 20-A-207 MIT 18 Vassar St., Cambridge, Mass 02139, USA.

The proceedings of the Workshop on Research and Development Needs in the Field of Fermented Foods held in Bogor, Indonesia, in December 1979, which were summarized in the Food and Nutrition Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 2, are now available from Dr. F.G. Winaro, Food Technology Development Centre, Bogor Agricultural University Fatemeta- IPB, J1, Raya Pajajaran, Bogor, Indonesia.

Future meetings and workshops

Food and Nutrition Policy

Methodological Issues in Nutritional Anthropology, 20 - 24 October 1980, Cambridge, Mass., USA

Maternal Malnutrition in Relation to Lactation, Breastfeeding, Infant Development, and Birth-Spacing Decisions (UNU/WHO/UNFPA/IPPF)

Post-harvest Food Conservation

Hardening of Beans,1980, Central America

The Role of Women in Post-harvest Food Conservation, late 1980, Tokyo, Japan

Symposium on Potential Food Legumes for the Protein Demands in Developing Countries (UNU/IUFoST/IUNS), Autumn 1980, Tokyo/Tsukuba, Japan

Training Needs in Food Science and Technology, 1980, Shambat, Sudan

Nutritional Requirements

Interaction of Parasitic Diseases and Nutrition, 6 - 10 October 1980, Bellagio, Italy iron Deficiency, Brain Biochemistry, and Behaviour, mid 1980, Houston, Tex., USA

Energy Requirements under Field Conditions, Prague, Czechoslovakia

Fellowship programme

The Influence of the UNU-WHP and Its Fellowship Programme in Latin America, August 1980, UVC, Cali, Colombia

New publication

A Report on the Evaluation of the Nutritional Status of Rural Populations in the Sahel in Light of Surveys Undertaken between 1960 and 1979, prepared by J.C. Dillon and N. Lajoie as one of the working documents for a meeting on the Nutritional Status of Rural Populations in the Sahel, held in Paris, France, 28 - 30 April 1980, under the sponsorship of the UN University in collaboration with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), has been published as an IDRC Manuscript Report. It is available from IDRC, 60 Queen Street, PO Box 8500, Ottawa, Canada K1 G 3H9.


The abstract journal Nutrition Planning will be partially supported by the UN University World Hunger

Programme during 1980. Under this arrangement a limited number of subscriptions will be provided to institutions in developing countries concerned with research and training in food and nutrition planning and policy. Nutrition Planning, a quarterly international journal providing abstracts about food and nutrition policy planning and programmes, is now entering its third year of existence.

Dr. Bo Krasse of Sweden is to become Chairman of the IUNS Committee V/13 (Schools of Dentistry) of Commission V (Education and Training) following the resignation of Dr. Klaus Konig in November 1979.

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