Senegal: Preventing and managing child malnutrition in highly vulnerable regions
Persistent drought and the rise in food prices have taken a heavy toll in Senegal: more than two million people lacked food security and nearly one in five children under the age of 5 was stunted when the Joint Programme was launched. Its aim was to lower the acute malnutrition rate of children in the five most affected regions to below the international emergency level of 10%.
The programme was based on the following objectives:
- Build the capacity of national and local structures in the fight against child malnutrition;
- Strengthen communication and advocacy for behavioral changes;
- Implement an Integrated Management System for the treatment of acute malnutrition in all targeted areas; and
- Create a monitoring and early warning system.
Initiatives included promoting better feeding practices based on local foodstuffs; providing micronutrients and deparasiting treatments for children; providing adequate food for children in primary school and promoting a healthy environment in pre- and elementary schools that is conducive to learning.
Main achievements included:
- More than 412,000 children aged 6-59 months were screened for malnutrition. More than 89,000 children suffering from Moderate Acute Malnutrition were treated in community health centers in 2012, and 96% of children under 5 years received twice-yearly Vitamin A supplements and deworming treatments. 50% of targeted mothers practiced exclusive breast-feeding in 2012 against a target of 44%.
- The Ministry of Health received funds to conduct a SMART Survey (Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions) on the nutritional status of the population. The programme also carried out capacity building among mothers and grandmothers through outreach and training to identify manage cases of malnutrition.
- The local production of food improved thanks to the provision of farming equipment and agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilizer, fencing, water sources, etc.). Some 4,800 women and youth were trained in good horticultural practices and improvements in traditional poultry farming. Four local processing centers were supported to produce flour fortified with micronutrients. 69 community gardens were established.
- More than 600 health workers were trained in new tools for the management of children's diseases, and more than 740 were trained in the management of malnutrition incorporating the new WHO standards.
- 4,500 women participated in literacy training through 150 different classes.