Sudan

Sudan: Nutritional anthropometric survey, children under five years old - results summary Old Fangak Payam, Zeraf County, Jonglei State, Central Upper Nile

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INTRODUCTION

Old Fangak is located in the Zeraf County, in Central Upper Nile region. It is bordered by Atar/Khorfulus county to the East, Tonga County to the North East, Ruweng County to the North, Guit County to the West, Rubkuona county to the North West and Ayod county to the South.
The Old Fangak payams is sub divided into four Bomas namely; Old Fangak, Wanglel, Chotbora and Pulpam.
These Bomas are inhabited by Nuer Laak (that includes Chieng kuacbor and Janyang sub clans) and Nuer Thiang clans (that includes Bang and Riak sub clans).
The population of the of Old Fangak payam is estimated at 55,515(1).
The community is predominantly agro-pastoralist, relying mainly on sorghum and maize cultivation and cow milk. To some extent fishing, wild fruits and vegetable collection contribute to the community food basket.

The terrain which is mainly flat and swampy is characteristized by black cotton soil. The Zeraf river, locally known as river Phou, crosses the Payam and is the main source of water and fish for the community. Flooding in Zeraf County is a normal occurrence during the rainy season.

For the past years, the livelihoods and basic food security of the communities in this area have been affected by the conflict that opposed North and South Sudan(2). The persistent insecurity rocked Old Fangak payam due to proximate militia activities, administrative divisions and personal conflicts(3).

Old Fangak Payam has been a core area of nutrition intervention for ACF-USA since 2001, and nutrition surveys were done on a yearly basis since then.
The results have generally revealed declining trends of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates, but these rates remained about or above 15%, which defines critical levels in emergency situations. Surveys conducted in March 2003, March 2004 and November 2005 have unveiled GAM rates of 35.9% (31.25-40.9%), 14% (10.6%-18.1%) and 17.3% (13.6%-21.6%) respectively (results expressed in Z-scores).

From April 2006, insecurity let to the withdrawal of operations by humanitarian agencies from the location. It led to damage of livelihoods and disruption of vital food and non food interventions put in place by the various organizations. ACF-USA deemed it necessary to implement a nutritional survey to document the current nutrition situation of the area.

The present survey was implemented from 23rd November to 14th December 2006, with the following 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, basic and underlying factors influencing the nutrition situation of the community.

METHODOLOGY

SMART(4) methodology was used for the survey design and analysis.
According to the population figures, a two-stage 30 by 30 cluster survey methodology was applied, to ensure the calculation of malnutrition rates with a 95 % confidence interval. All the accessible villages in Old Fangak Bomas were included in the survey coverage area.
Households were randomly selected and all the children aged between 6 and 59 months of the same family(5) were included in the survey.
Mortality data and anthropometric data were simultaneously collected during the survey.
Observation and structured questionnaires were used to obtain qualitative information focusing on food security, water and sanitation, accessibility and utilization of health care services as well as child care practices.

Notes:

(1) Population figures estimated by Old Fangak SRRC
(2) Star base 2005, Phou state.
(3) Fews net August 2006, Food security and Livelihood update
(4) Standardized Monitoring and Assessment in Relief Transition
(5) A family refers to a mother/caretaker and her child(ren).