Due to a prediction in 2005 of the high prospects of a precarious food situation in 2006 in the county facilitated by massive flooding that destroyed large crop fields coupled with the expected exacerbation of the situation through a strain of most household food baskets and other household livelihoods because of high number of returnees, Tearfund as a lead nutrition agency in Aweil South county undertook a nutrition survey in March 2006 with the objective of assessing the current nutritional status of the population and get information that will be used to assist and guide the planning and implementation of the nutrition program and as well provide reference baseline data .
The survey covered Tieralliet, Panthou, Gakrol, ajak and Wathmouk payams.The target population of 37,596 children was based on a total population of 187,980 (WHO NIDS 2004) for the 5 Payams surveyed and calculated using a 20% multiplier. The methodology employed was a two-stage cluster-sampling frame of 30 clusters each with 30 children which is appropriate for this context. Data collection was carried out using a standardized questionnaire. The Target group was Children 06-59 months (height 65cm ---- 110 cm.).In total 946 children were sampled.
Data quality assurance included the use of an anthropometric standardization and cluster control sheet, thorough enumerator training, close expert supervision during the actual survey for consistency, completeness and clarity of the questionnaires ensured that data collected was of good quality. Common historical events listed in the seasonal calendar like floods, important and memorable persons, fighting were used to clarify the dates of childbirth in cases where the mother or other caretakers were not certain about the information.
Data processing, validation and analysis were conducted using Epi Info version 5 and 6.04c software packages (2). Anthropometric results indicate that the Global Acute Malnutrition and/ or oedema (GAM), <-2.00 SD Z-score, is 20.0% (95% CI 16.5-24.1). Severe Acute Malnutrition and/ or oedema (SAM), <-3.00 SD Z-score, is 3.7% (95% CI 2.2-6.0). No cases of nutritional oedema have been reported. Further, currently 6128 children are in need of supplementary feeding and 1392 require therapeutic feeding to curb on associated mortality (3).
The prevalence of 20.0% global acute malnutrition is critical and this is further complicated by returnees, lack of good and safe water, poor hygiene, inadequate health care, poor shelter and in some instances inappropriate feeding practises . Prompt response is therefore mandatory to control the current high levels of malnutrition .These should strive to cover the traditional hunger periods that stretch between April proceeding until it links up with the first harvest in October.
(2) EPI Info version 6.04c October 1997 (Y2K compliant), centres for disease control, epidemiology program office, Atlanta, Georgia, USA WHO global program on AIDS, Geneva, Switzerland.
(3) Approximation has been done to provide working figures only and inform programme planning. The Z score rather than the percent median (though used as admission criteria) has been used to increase on the sensitivity of absolute estimation.
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