Angola nutrition gap analysis
Despite remarkable economic growth in the past decade, undernutrition remains a serious public health problem in Angola. High rates of child stunting and micronutrient deficiencies are contributing to an under-five mortality rate of 161 deaths per 1,000 live births, limiting the growth and development of children, hindering productivity, and preventing the country from reaching Millennium Development Goals 1 and 4.
In response to this situation, the objectives of this report are to: a) synthesize available information on the nutrition situation in Angola; b) discuss the three main determinants of undernutrition using the UNICEF conceptual framework; c) summarize existing nutrition policies and programs in the country; and d) propose next steps for action. In order to accomplish these objectives, data from the 2007 National Nutrition Survey, the 2001 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), the 2006-2007 Malaria Indicator Survey, the 2008 MICS/Combined Household Budget Survey, and the Food and Agricultural Organization were primarily relied upon in tandem with a series of interviews with local representatives in the field of nutrition and health.
According to latest estimates from the 2007 National Nutrition Survey (NNS), nearly 30% of children under 5 are stunted, more than 8% are wasted, and 15.6% are underweight. Micronutrient deficiencies are also pervasive: 30% of preschool children and more than half of pregnant women are anemic, almost two-thirds of preschool-aged children are vitamin A deficient, 20% of young children are at risk of developing iodine deficiency disorders, and almost half of the population is at risk of inadequate zinc consumption. Furthermore, infant and young child feeding practices are poor with less than one-third of infants being exclusively breastfed for 6 months of age. Although the prevalence of undernourishment in the population has been declining in the past decade, child stunting remains high at nearly 30%, and more than 50% of people consume less than three meals per day.
The nutrition policy agenda is slowly gaining momentum in the country. The National Food Security and Nutrition Strategy released in 2009 include nutrition actions for Children Under 5. The National Nutrition Policy is in the process of being finalized.
High priority problems include the dearth of up-to-date, reliable, and comprehensive information on the nutrition situation in the country, severe shortages of trained nutritionists, and an exclusion of nutrition from community-based health activities.
The following recommendations are proposed as next steps: 1) incorporate the collection of nutrition data into routine, planned surveys; 2) finalize the National Nutrition Policy, conduct a rigorous gap analysis, and develop a costed implementation plan to effectively scale-up nutrition activities in the country; 3) enhance capacitybuilding efforts in the field of nutrition; 4) improve nutrition surveillance and screening activities and; 5) incorporate nutrition into community-based activities.