Guinea-Bissau: WFP scales up support for health centres to fight chronic malnutrition

In Guinea-Bissau, nearly 15,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition across the country. With financial support from the Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), WFP has started distributions of supplementary nutritious foods in nutrition centres to help prevent chronic malnutrition. The intervention is part of a broader joint emergency programme, implemented by WFP in partnership with UNICEF, FAO and WHO.
Through the country’s national public health centres network, approximately 55,000 children—representing half of children aged 6 to 23 months across the country—will receive daily rations of Plumpy Doz for a period of three months (March to May 2014). Health service providers register the children receiving food and produce monthly reports on the progress of distributions.

Overview

Despite an abundance of natural resources, fertile soil and good rainfall, Guinea-Bissau is a fragile state and has been marked by political instability since its independence in 1974, facing recurrent socio-economic and political disturbances. These conditions have had detrimental effects on the country’s food security as well as on poverty and malnutrition rates, which are alarming, especially in rural areas.
The economy of Guinea-Bissau is dominated by agriculture; almost 85 percent of the country’s 1.6 million people depend on agriculture as the main source of income. The cashew accounts for 98 percent of export revenues and 10 percent of government revenues. Other crops—including rice (the country’s main staple), sorghum, millet, maize and cassava—are cultivated largely for subsistence.