Report of Round 7 Nutrition SMART Surveys Conducted in Flood-and Drought-Prone Livelihood Zones of Malawi, Assessment period: November-December 2020


Alexander Kalimbira1 (PhD)
Zione Kalumikiza
Gertrude Mphwanthe (PhD)
Innocent Pangapanga
George Bello (PhD)
Cacious Phiri


Background and Setting

Since 2015, the Government of Malawi has been commissioning periodic nutrition surveys aimed at informing nutrition responses and programming to mitigate possible negative impacts of disasters such as floods and droughts. The surveys use a Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) methodology to estimate severity and magnitude of the nutrition situation in target areas. The present survey is 7th in a series of the SMART surveys. It provides updated information on the nutrition situation of children aged 6–59 months, adolescents aged 10–19 years, and pregnant and lactating women (PLWs) aged 20–49 years who live in flood and drought-prone areas in 25 districts across 7 livelihood zones, namely: 1) Lake Chirwa-Phalombe Plains (Phalombe, Zomba and Machinga districts); 2)Lower Shire (Chikwawa and Nsanje districts), 3) Thyolo-Mulanje Tea Estates (Thyolo and Mulanje districts); 4) Rift Valley Escarpment (Balaka, Ntcheu, Mwanza, Neno, Salima and Nkhotakota districts); 5) Shire Highlands (Blantyre rural, Chiradzulu and Mangochi districts); 6) Kasungu-Lilongwe Plain (Lilongwe rural, Dedza, Mchinji, Dowa, and Kasungu); and, 7) Karonga-Chitipa-Rumphi-Mzimba (Karonga, Chitipa, Rumphi, Mzimba districts).


Round 7 SMART Survey used a combined descriptive and analytical cross-sectional survey design to generate data on anthropometry for children under the age of 5 years (CUTA5y), morbidity, mortality and anthropometry for adolescents (10–19 years) and for PLWs (20–49 years), and select household parameters such as water, sanitation and hygiene practice, participation in targeted nutrition programmes and interventions, morbidity, as well as underfive and crude mortality. Preceded by 1 week of training, the survey was carried out for 28 days beginning 28 November 2020. Cluster sampling methodology was purposed to sample 4,227 households where CUTA5y data would be collected. Sample sizes were computed for CUTA5y, adolescents and PLWs according to key outcome variables for each population group. Data were electronically captured on a Survey Solutions platform using tablets. A variety of quality assurance check were in place throughout the survey, with corrective measures promptly taken where necessary. From planning, through training and implementation, to report writing, Round 7 SMART survey complied with COVID-19 gazetted guidelines at the time.