On several occasions I and other ministerial colleagues have discussed health related issues, of which malnutrition is an important part, with EC colleagues.
DFID supports countries through a range of aid instruments to implement their national health plans. This includes specific support for direct nutrition interventions such as breast feeding support and micronutrient supplementation. It also funds substantial direct nutrition interventions in a number of countries such as India where under-nutrition is a major cause of the burden of disease.
DFID is funding a large randomised controlled trial on the impact of vitamin A supplementation for women of reproductive age on all-cause, pregnancy-related, perinatal and infant mortality in rural Ghana. The results from the trial, expected in 2009, will be important to understand the potential role of vitamin A in safe motherhood initiatives, and to provide explanations for the way vitamin A may impact on mortality.
DFID also supports the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Research in Bangladesh, whose research has helped Bangladesh become the first country to scale up zinc supplementation.