|AdminHistory||The Nyasaland survey was originally carried out over an 18 month period in the Kota Kota district of Nyasaland (modern day Malawi). Its aim was to provide an empirical basis for development planning, involving government departments of finance, administration, agriculture, health education and labour. It was the first comprehensive survey of this nature in that socio-economic factors were recognised as important in determining the nutritional status of a population. The survey was carried out by a team headed by Dr Platt of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The individuals included Miss Owen, Dr M Read, Dr HG Fitzmaurice, Mr RW Kettlewell, Miss J Barker (later Williamson) and Dr GAC Herklots. The survey produced information on agricultural practices, eating habits, economic health, anthropometry and many other variables. Arising from this research, the Nutrition Development Unit was set up in 1940 but was denied adequate funds and personnel. Dr Platt's aim for the NDU was to increase the range of foods grown and eaten by the local Nyasaland people, in order to cure the deficiency diseases that were identified in the original survey. Work by the NDU was undertaken over 3 years. Little significant change to methods of agriculture among the populations occurred, possibly because of resistance by local people to the imposition of dietary changes. |
The study was never published in full until 1992 when Veronica Berry and Celia Petty used the original drafts and data to compile the work into 'The Nyasaland Survey Papers 1938-1943: Agriculture Food and Health'. Dr Platt had written drafts for a report but never completed the work.