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Jun 18, 2012

Haiti - Child Malnutrition Declining Says UNICEF

Reversal of Historical Pattern of Child Malnutrition and Stunting is Demonstrated in Standardized UNICEF Data Survey

Following the 2010 earthquake, the United Nations and the government of Haiti set up the SMART nutrition survey, a standardized data system to track child malnutrition and health.  Before this, Haiti had some of the worst child malnutrition and health statistics. For example, in 2005, it was estimated that one out of three children under the age of five was stunted; one out of 10 was acutely malnourished; six out of 10 were anemic; and one out of four was born underweight.

SMART stands for Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions.  It specifically evaluates the child malnutrition statistics for children under the age of 5.  It is administered by UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and Haiti's Ministry of Health.  As part of earthquake relief, UNICEF began providing nutritional food aid and education.  This included encouraging mothers with infants to exclusively breastfeed and the provision of iron and folic acid supplements, multiple micronutrient powders and tablets, vitamin A supplements, and deworming tablets. 

In 2012, SMART data shows improved child malnutrition and health statistics: 
  • a decrease in the prevalence of malnutrition levels in children aged 6-59 months; 
  • stunting rates decreased to 23.4 per cent
  • acute and severe malnutrition decreased to 4.1 and 1 per cent, respectively
  • underweight children also decreased from 18 per cent in 2005-2006 to 10.6 per cent in 2012.
For more see: 

Photo caption and credit:  Jennyca, 2, is receving treatment for severe acute malnutrition at a UNICEF-supported clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. © UNICEF Haiti/2012/Nybo

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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