Project final report

Establishing the linkages between foodborne bacterial enteropathies and malnutrition in Timor-Leste - Final Report

Date released
06 October 2022
Publication Code

Prepared by Dr Ben Polkinghorne

Contributors:  Dr Samantha Colquhoun, Professor Martyn Kirk, Associate Professor Katie Glass, Ms Danielle Cribb, Mr Anthony Draper, Dr Nicholas Fancourt, Dr Joshua Francis, Sr Nevio Sarmento, Sn Virginia de Lourdes da Conceicao, Dr Felisiano da Conceicao, Sr Almerio Moniz, Sn Francesca Soares, Sr Antoniho Gusmao


This project, Establishing the linkages between foodborne bacterial enteropathies and malnutrition in Timor-Leste, aimed to develop hypotheses on infection pathways, with a view to undertaking a large-scale study on the sources and effects of enteropathogen infections and stunting in Timor-Leste.

The study sought to develop a better understanding of the relationship between malnutrition and enteropathogen infections in infants in Timor-Leste and the contribution of social, zoonotic, and environmental factors affecting their transmission.

Infants and children in Dili have a high enteric pathogen load and signs of growth retardation are exhibited from first months of life. Contributing factors are complex; however, the study shows that both enteric pathogens, WASH, proximity of animals in the domestic setting, household crowding as well as an early move from exclusive breast feeding appear to be contributing factors. We have shown that it is feasible to undertake longitudinal field research in Timor-Leste and have developed strong relationships with partners in local health, veterinary, Ministry and non-governmental organisations.

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