Sudan: Nutritional anthropometric survey children under 5 years of age; 24 Oct - 13 Nov 2008



Melut is one of the 13 counties in Upper Nile state, South Sudan. It is bordered by four counties namely: Manyo in the South West, Malakal in the South East, Maaban in the East, and Renk County in the North. The county is situated in the Nile Sobat livelihood zone along the east of the Nile corridor.

Administratively the county has six Payams (administrative units defining a county) thus; Melut, Paloch, Galdora, Bemichuk, Wunamom and Panamdit. Melut Payam hosts the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) authority offices for the county comprising of Commissioner, Executive Director and SSRRC offices.

Currently the findings of the census have not been released; therefore, SSRRC office provided pre census information. The population information was triangulated from different sources (village elders, community persons, SSRRC office and secondary sources) to obtain a figure of 55,754.

Melut is characterised by flat, low lying plains with black cotton soil. Grasslands and acacia trees form primary vegetative cover. River Nile and its tributaries such as Awil-wil and Thor Ager largely determine the settlement patterns of the community and contribute significantly to their livelihoods. The main activities around the rivers are transportation, fishing and watering points. Besides being a border between states and counties, River Nile also, connects various counties in South Sudan to Port Sudan in the North.

Food security situation in Melut County is cushioned by proximity to large farms in the neighbouring Maaban and Renk counties which act as food baskets in the region. However, food prices have on some occasions increased limiting access especially in the hunger gap period. According to FEWSNET August 2008, food security conditions had remained normal especially near county headquarters (in Melut and Paloch Payam). Nevertheless, areas far from the market experienced high sorghum prices due to transportation problems associated with civil insecurity and wet road conditions. As such, these were bottlenecks in the food supply chain and negatively affected access to food.

Population movement of southerners returning from the North to Melut was reported in the month of August. UN weekly report (30th March to 4th April 2008) reported that 1,308 returnees (193 HH) were received in Melut county. Employment opportunities in the oil mining fields also attracted many people. High prevalence of diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, RTI and Kalazaar were reported by Medair in the preceding months.

In view of uncertain food security in the short run, continued movement of returnees into the county and high prevalence of diseases like malaria and diarrhoea, ACF planned to implement a nutritional anthropometric survey to determine current malnutrition rates. There is also need for continued monitoring of nutrition situation in the area due to high malnutrition rates unveiled in the past surveys as tabulated below:

April 2005
February 2006
March 2007
Global Acute malnutrition (GAM)
28.1 %
Severe acute malnutrition (SAM)

The Melut anthropometric nutrition survey which was done between 24th October and 13th November 2008 had the following specific objectives:

- To evaluate the nutritional status of children aged 6 to 59 months;

- To estimate the measles immunization coverage of children aged 9 to 59 months;

- To estimate the crude mortality rate through a retrospective survey;

- To determine immediate, underlying and basic causes of malnutrition;

- To identify priority areas for program implementation.