Grant Awarded by The World Bank to Probiotic Yogurt project in Kenya


June 4, 2007

London, ON – Brescia Foods and Nutritional Science Professor, Dr. Sharareh Hekmat, and her team of researchers have received a grant from The World Bank for their project in Kenya entitled “Probiotic Yogurt for health and nutrition: Women helping women”. The project was one of 22 winners selected out of 3000 applicants.

The main objective of the project is to establish a sustainable, grass-roots food based development project in Kenya to improve nutrition and alleviate suffering from malnutrition in people living with HIV/AIDS, and amongst the most vulnerable social groups. The project specifically aims at improving health, nutrition and population health outcomes through an emphasis on training marginalized women to produce standard and fortified yoghurt at the community level for distribution and sale.

The Project team includes Dr. Sharareh Hekmat who invented the yogurt technology that is being used in Mwanza, Tanzania and will be introduced to Kenya, as well as Dr. Isaac Luginaah, UWO, Dr. Mardeep Thind, UWO, and Dr. Sandra Smeltzer, UWO. Brescia was represented in Washington DC by Jaimie Hemsworth, Foods and Nutritional Sciences graduate, class of 2007. Jaimie participated in Western Heads East, spending part of last summer in Mwanza, Tanzania working with local women.

Another project Dr. Hekmat is working on “Novel probiotic yogurt supplemented with micronutrients for patients with HIV/AIDS or other immunodeficiencies” also received funding by Advanced Food and Materials Network –STAR Program (AFMnet-STAR).

This project will develop a new yogurt, supplemented with micronutrients and probiotic lactobacilli to target malnourished children, adults and seniors in Canada, as well as surgical, transplant and hospitalized patients, and HIV/AIDS subjects here and in Africa.

The Project Team includes: Dr. Sharareh Hekmat, Dr. Gregor Reid, Director, Canadian R&D Centre for Probiotics, Lawson Health Research Institute, Dr. Jo-Anne Hammond, Victoria Family Medical Centre, and Dr. Andrew W. Bruce, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of Urology, University of Toronto and Affiliate Scientist, Canadian R&D Centre for Probiotics, Lawson Health Research Institute.

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For more information, contact Dr. Sharareh Hekmat at 519 432 8353 ext 28227