Ethiopia: Fortnight Bulletin 15 Jul 2007

Situation Report
Originally published


Nutritional Surveys Conducted

A total of 16 nutrition surveys were conducted by SCUK, GOAL, ACF, WV-Ethiopia, SCUSA, RENCU/DPPB in SNNP, Afar, Somali and Tigray regions between late March and early June 2007. Twelve were carried out in the predominantly cropping areas of Oromia, SNNP, and Tigray regions during the late post-harvest meher season while the remaining four were conducted in the pastoral areas of Somali and Afar regions. According to the Emergency Nutrition Quarterly Bulletin issued by the Emergency Nutrition Coordination Unit (ENCU), in Silti Wereda of Silte Zone in SNNPR, the prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) (8.9 percent) was relatively lower than in 2006 at the same season indicating an improvement. Mortality was within acceptable limits.

This was an indication of the normal food security situation in the woreda at the time of the survey. However, there was no improvement in vaccination coverage. Access to clean water remained a concern to be addressed in the woreda. It was recommended to improve vaccination coverage and assure proper close monitoring during the upcoming hunger season.

The Bulletin disclosed that the nutritional status in Bona Woreda of Sidama Zone was critical. SC/OTPprogramme was recommended and immediately initiated by Save the Children US in Ethiopia funded by UN OCHA. It was also recommended to strengthen the EOS/TSFP intervention in Bona including distributing TSFPfood on monthly basis rather than once in three months to take care of children that were not captured by the EOS screening programme and prevent further worsening of the children's nutritional status.

The prevalence of global acute malnutrition in the three surveyed woredas of Meta Robi, Ada Berga and Abuna Gindberet in West Shewa Zone in Oromia Region was found to be low at the time of the survey while the food security situation in the lowland areas remained poor. The quarterly Bulletin underscored that geographic bias might partly explain the low prevalence of acute malnutrition as the nutritional status of the lowland might have been masked by the effects of less affected agro ecological zones. In such a situation where the distribution of malnutrition was heterogeneous and highly localized, it would have been more appropriate to do the survey on agro ecological basis as this would help to reflect the situation in the lowland areas.

The overall nutritional status in Melka Bello of East Hararghe Zone in Oromia Region was normal as explained by low prevalence of global acute malnutrition as well as acceptable levels of crude and under-five mortality rates. Food security was satisfactory. The performance of the Belg harvest would determine whether the nutrition situation in the Belg-dependent areas was likely to deteriorate or not in the coming months. In the mean time, it was recommended to continue the existing PSNPand strengthen the routine EPI program with close monitoring of the Belg- dependent communities.

The nutritional status in Chifra Woreda of Zone 1 in Afar was classified as serious based on the national categorization and Sphere Standard. The big difference in SAM (Severe Acute Malnutrition) estimated by WHZ (Weight for Height Z Score) and MUAC (Mid Upper Arm Circumference) was of concern.

Food security prospect was expected to worsen further if no interventions were to be made. Reduction of number of meals per day as a copping strategy was an indication that household food security had started being stretched. Normalization depended much on the Sugum (rains in June).

The survey in Elkare and Hargele weredas of Afder and Liben Zone in Somali Region indicated that the levels of malnutrition of 15.7 percent was classified as critical and found to have been on the higher side compared to the previous survey. Mortality among under-five children had also passed the emergency threshold level. According to ENCU quarterly Bulletin, in Tigray Region the nutrition situation with 5.1 to 9.9 percent GAM was found to be typical in the post harvest period and in an area where most of the livelihood zones are described as chronically food insecure. Continuation of the existing PSNP and EOS/TSFP with close monitoring was recommended as the nutritional status was expected to deteriorate around August to September during the hunger season.