Ethiopia: Emergency nutrition quarterly bulletin (First Quarter 2007)

Situation Report
Originally published




Kalu and Dessie Zuria Woredas

Two nutrition surveys were conducted in Kalu and Dessie Zuria in January as part of the regular monitoring of Concern project areas. The SMART method was used for the planning phase, resulting in sampling 38 clusters of 23 children in Kalu and 31 clusters of 23 children in Dessie Zuria.

Nutrition: The prevalence of global acute malnutrition was estimated at 7.7% with 0.1% SAM in Kalu and at 16.2% with 1.4% SAM in Dessie Zuria. A total of 16 surveys have been conducted over the past 6 years in each woreda.
The prevalence of global acute malnutrition ranged over seasons and years from 6% to 17% in Kalu, and from 10% to 18% in Dessie Zuria, with 2002/03 being the worst year in terms of nutrition status in both woredas. Over the past 6 years the level of malnutrition in Dessie Zuria was above the NSP baseline ranges in all seasons surveyed and remained above 10% in spite of a substantial percentage of the population receiving food aid and/or PSNP. In Kalu malnutrition levels were also higher than the NSP range over the past 6 years,
except for the post harvest season 04- 05, again in spite of ongoing food aid and PSNP. The prevalence of GAM for January 2007 was above the NSP baseline of 5.8-7.8% for post-harvest (Dec- Feb) in DZ while it was comparable to the NSP baseline in Kalu.

Health: The crude mortality rate was 0.06 and 0.36 deaths/10,000/day in Kalu and Dessie Zuria respectively while the under-five mortality rate was estimated at 0.34 deaths/10,000/day in each woreda. Retrospective morbidity was low with 10% in Kalu and 14% in DZ. Measles (by card and recall) and vitamin A coverage was estimated at 93% and 97% in Kalu, and at 90% and 94% in DZ. These results were very similar to those of the previous survey conducted in July/Aug 2006 where measles and vitamin A coverage was estimated at 92% and 97% in Kalu, and at 85% and 91% in DZ. BCG coverage was at 73% in Kalu and 61% in DZ falling under similar ranges as in the previous surveys with 73% in Kalu and 58% in DZ.

Food Security: Kalu woreda, because of its high proportion of lowlands and low-midlands, is predominantly dependant on kremt rains (Aug.-Sept.) to support meher crops harvested from November to December. In higher areas of the woreda belg crops (oat, barley and wheat) are also cultivated and harvested in June/July. In contrast, Dessie Zuria woreda, because of its high proportion of high- and mid-lands, is both dependant on belg (Jan.-Feb.) and kremt rains to support belg and meher crops harvested in June/July and November/January respectively. There is also a significant proportion of the population who is solely belg dependant and hence at great risk of food insecurity. In Kalu, the 2006 meher harvest was reported to be good due to evenly distributed kremt rains, improved crop management and pest control. Water and pasture availability and livestock condition were also reported as good in the whole woreda. In Dessie Zuria, the 2006 meher harvest was rated as poor, mostly due to untimely and unevenly distributed kremt rains while livestock condition was reported as good due to adequate water and pasture availability and absence of disease.

Conclusion: The nutrition situation was typical for this time of the year in Kalu with 7.7% GAM while it was rated as serious in Dessie Zuria with 16.2% GAM. The surveys had been conducted after the main harvesting season when the malnutrition rates are expected to be at the lowest due to improved access to food. The poor nutrition and food security in Dessie Zuria was a matter of concern, as the next significant harvest was not due before June/July in the areas benefiting from belg and not before November/December in the predominantly meher-dependant area. It was recommended to ensure that the EOS/TSFP distribution was timely, i.e. a maximum of 3 weeks after the screening as par the TSFP guideline, and to consider monthly distribution instead of deterioration of the children nutrition status.