Linking relief, rehabilitation and development programme (LRRD) in Afghanistan: Nutrition sector update in Afghanistan
Groupe URD has been following evolutions in the nutrition sector since August 2002, through three Quality Project missions, other missions carried out in partnership with the UN FAO and Tufts University -which entailed working in the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Public Health-, and a 10 day mission for the EC-funded Linking Relief Rehabilitation and Development carried out end of June - early July 2005.
The present paper is an update on key evolutions in the nutrition sector, which follows on previous publications (Quality Project in Afghanistan reports 1, 2 & 3; and the chapter 'Towards a Public Nutrition Response in Afghanistan: Evolutions in Assessment and Response' -Dufour and Borrel, in press). It aims to highlight key issues which future LRRD missions should follow-up on and analyse in greater depth. It is organised around two main themes:
- evolutions in key nutrition issues: from food quantity to diet quality and underlying causes of malnutrition
- evolutions in the institutional environment: from NGO-led emergency nutrition to longterm, government-led policies and programmes
I. FROM FOOD QUANTITY TO DIET QUALITY AND UNDERLYING CAUSES OF MALNUTRITION
When relief agencies started implementing nutrition interventions on a large-scale (compared to interventions under the Taliban), activities mainly focused on filling food gaps, to address acute food insecurity among vulnerable groups (food aid), moderate acute malnutrition (Supplementary Feeding Programmes -SFP's), and severe acute malnutrition (Therapeutic Feeding Programmes -TFP's, which sometimes consisted in distribution of RUTFs1). As the international community's understanding of the food security and nutrition situation evolved, and as the food security situation itself improved due to the end of the four-year drought, the relevance and appropriateness of these interventions was called into question, and they have evolved accordingly. Furthermore, a number of actors in Afghanistan were well-aware of the chronic nature of food insecurity and malnutrition in Afghanistan and have used opportunities related to large amount of funds available in the aftermath of November 2001 to lay the foundations for more long-term approaches early on in the reconstruction process (2002).