Addressing malnutrition in Gedo region
The Somalia programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) has distributed plumpy nuts to children at risk of malnutrition in Elwak, Gedo region.
The process of selecting children and families to benefit from the distribution was done in consultation with the project committee stakeholders and local leaders in the villages of Oktoba, Holwadag, Madina and Wagbiri locations.
The criteria used for selection included:
- Households with malnourished children
This was specifically for children whose middle-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measurement was below 12.5 cm. MUAC is a measure to assess nutritional status. It is measured on a straight left arm, mid-way between the tip of the shoulder and the tip of the elbow. Children with MUAC measurements of less than 11.0cm, RED COLOUR, indicates Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and should be immediately referred for treatment; MUAC of between 11.0 cm and 12.5 cm, ORANGE COLOUR (4-colour Tape), indicates Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM). The child should be immediately referred for supplementation.
In this exercise, a total of 200 children were registered – 141 children had a MUAC of between 12 and 12.5cm, 51 with between 11.1 and 11.9cm and 8 with between 9.4 and 11cm. (Read more about how the team kicked off the project in November 2018) http://www.actionafricahelp.org/gearing-up-to-improve-the-nutritional-status-of-children/
- Verification by village committees
The AAH-I team worked with the village committee who endorsed the list of household names. This was crucial for ownership at the local level, and also for ensuring that children who receive the nuts are those that need it the most.
AAH-I staff during the distribution in Elwak
Distribution and usage
One sachet (one piece) of plumpy nut weighs 92g and contains 500kcal. It’s recommended that a child takes 1,500kcal per day. A child is required to take 276g of the plumpy nut per day (3 sachets), which is 1,500 kcal per day as per the nutritional requirements. Every child registered received 42 sachets plumpy nuts during the first distribution to use for 2 weeks. Each beneficiary will receive 90 sachets of plumpy nuts on a monthly basis for 3 consecutive months. This is expected to cost USD $67.5 per child over the 3 months period.
Subsequent distribution will be done after every 2 weeks for the next 3 months, deliberately planned this way to mitigate the potential of families selling the nuts to supplement household incomes, which would undermine the impact of the intervention on the children. To replenish, parents are required to return empty sachets of the used plumpy nuts in exchange for new supplies.
The nutrition programme is expected to support the reduction of the number of children whose MUAC is below 12.5cm by 10%. The project will target a total of 200 children from Waberi, Halwadag, October and Madina villages to address long-term sustainable nutrition.
This initiative is funded by Bread for the World under the Integrated Community Rehabilitation Programme, whose goal is to enhance community resilience.