UNICEF External Situation Report Swaziland - 15 Jun 2007

Situation Report
Originally published
Major Developments

Swaziland is currently in its winter season. Freezing temperatures are forecasted for the coming period.

Government actions during the last week:

- The Senate is discussing and exploring a food for work programme as an alternative to the current practice of free distribution of food.

- The Government has deployed at least one water truck to Lavumisa, a typically hot, dry area in the Lubombo region that has an acute water shortage. The truck delivers water to 13 delivery points. The water is not given to communities for free; rather a cost-sharing system is used wherein clients buy coupons to draw water from any of the stops.

Preliminary Data from the Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) survey:

Nutritional status through anthropometric measurements

- Wasting was recorded at 1.7 per cent in the Lubombo region; higher than the 1per cent assessed by VAC in 2006. A further analysis by livelihood zones within Lubombo found this to be clustered in Lubombo Plateau, where prevalence of wasting was 4.3 per cent. In the remaining three regions, wasting was found to be lower than the 2006 baseline.

- The range of underweight prevalence between 8.2 per cent and 11per cent is nearly the same as last year but stunting rates appear higher. Further analysis of the data is needed.

Recent illness amongst children less than five years old

- Prevalence of diarrhoea in the regions over a two-week period ranged from 20 to 25 per cent against prevalence of 17- 27per cent recorded in 2006, potentially signifying some increase if the seasonal correctional factor is applied.

- Cases of fever (range 31per cent to 48 per cent) showed an increasing trend in three regions, the highest being in Lubombo.

Coverage with high impact interventions:

- Measles immunizations coverage ranged from 85 per cent in Manzini to 94per cent in Shiselweni. This is an increase from 2006 when the range was respectively 89 per cent to 83 per cent.

- Between 54 per cent and 69 per cent of children aged 12-59 months received de-worming this year; an increase over the recorded range of 28 per cent to 40 per cent as per the 2006 survey.

- 80 per cent of children received Vitamin A supplements in 2007 compared with 75 per cent in 2006.

- Overall there has been an increase in the coverage of select interventions. However, pockets of non-reached children still exist in the country.

UNICEF Response

- Support to VAC data analysis. The data should be available two weeks after field work is completed.


- Child Health Days were implemented over the past two weeks. The initiative delivered vaccinations, de-worming, and Vitamin A supplements to children under-five who are typically not reached by the routine health system. Data on the number and proportion of children reached will be available at the end of June.

- A Child Protection Network meeting is scheduled to take place on 21 June. The main focus of the meeting will be to discuss the emergency situation and agree on a coordinated action plan for the immediate and the long term response per sector and the Core Commitments for Children in Emergencies. The meeting will bring together all relevant key line ministries, the UN Agencies, International NGOs, as well as local NGOs/CBOs/FBOs.

- UNICEF organized celebrations for the Day of the African Child in all four regions of the country from the 13-16 of June. This large scale mobilization focuses on child protection issues.

- Last week, a total of 1,600 blankets were distributed to needy orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) through the 22 Neighbourhood Care Points (NCPs) with the highest numbers of OVC. The NCPs were selected from Shiselweni, one of the country's three coldest regions and the region with the worst socio-economic indicators. The remaining 187 blankets will be distributed next week. UNICEF Swaziland has available resources for the procurement of additional blankets to benefit 5,000 orphans and vulnerable children. The beneficiaries will be identified through the NCPs, targeting mainly children from child headed households, granny headed households, double orphans and single orphans