An ACF staff member assesses a corn field that serves as a farmer’s alternative livelihood to bananas.
What are the malnutrition rates among children in the DRC?
Acute malnutrition is a major public health issue in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2009, the nutrition department of the Ministry of Health (the PRONANUT), supported by WFP, UNICEF, and with the assistance of Action Against Hunger, conducted 79 territorial nutrition surveys in the four provinces identified as most vulnerable to acute malnutrition (Katanga, Kasaï Occidental, Kasaï Oriental and Equateur) following a number of nutrition crises that have occurred over the last two years. These crises are a result of many factors, including the collapse of the regional mining industry. More than 500,000 people are affected by acute malnutrition in these four provinces alone.
Out of 79 territories, 30 of them (37%) are in a situation of “nutritional alert,” and 45 of them (57%) are facing a “nutrition crisis.” (According to the national nutrition protocol of DRC, the threshold for a nutrition alert is a rate of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) > 5%, and the threshold for a nutrition crisis is a rate of GAM >10%). Other provinces will be surveyed in 2010 following the same methodology and with the same partners, in order to complete the mapping of acute malnutrition throughout the territory of the DRC.
Action Against Hunger helps families affected by violence in eastern Congo regain their livelihoods.
How is Action Against Hunger helping to treat child malnutrition?
Over the years, we have honed a strategy that combines direct intervention on behalf of affected children with technical and logistical support for local actors. This last year alone, we treated 30,000 cases of severe acute malnutrition across the country by employing a community-based model that is revolutionizing care for the life-threatening condition.
At the community level, Action Against Hunger is training volunteer village health teams to diagnose malnutrition and refer affected children for outpatient treatment, or if they have severe medical or nutritional complications, to therapeutic Stabilization Centers for around-the-clock care. By tapping into a national program of Community Health Workers already in place, we have trained thousands of volunteers to ensure families of acutely malnourished children know where they can seek help.