WFP Treating Malnutrition Among Displaced In Sudan's North Darfur

Hawa Mohamed Tibin broke into a smile as her 32-month-old baby Mahadia gave out a loud cry after being lifted from a weighing scale. “Ma’shala (bless her),” she said. She could now see the signs that her daughter is on her way to being cured of malnutrition. Only three weeks ago when she brought Mahadia to the centre, the baby weighed a meager seven kg. The circumference of her mid-upper arm measured only 11.5 centrimetres and she was 76 cm tall.  All these three measurements showed she was suffering from moderate acute malnutrition.

The mother has been taking her daughter to the Tawila Nutrition Centre where WFP has been able to treat moderate acute malnutrition among displaced children aged under five, pregnant women and nursing mothers in three camps in Sudan's North Darfur state.

A Daily Nutritional Kick

A daily treatment of 200 gm of Super Cereal Plus (PDF, 578 KB) helped Mahadia put on 1.6 kg and her mid-upper arm circumference now measures 13.1 cm. The product is a food supplement WFP uses to treat malnutrition.
Treatment of moderate acute malnutrition is one of the key services that the Tawila Nutrition Centre offers to the displaced people living in Argo, Dali and Rwanda camps in North Darfur's Tawila locality. Baby Mahadia and her two siblings are among those who benefit from the services the centre offers.

At the centre, all children under five are screened for malnutrition by measuring their weight in relation to their height, their height in relation to age and the circumference of their mid-upper arm. Like Mahdia, malnourished children are given the food supplement until they reach a healthy weight and their measurements show they are healthy.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers are also screened by the measurement of their mid-upper arm circumference and are put on the same feeding course if they found to be malnourished.

In addition to the feeding programme, the centre also gives mothers awareness sessions on health and nutrition such as the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, preparation of highly nutritious meals with local ingredients and general food hygiene. For each session the mother attends, she receives a ration of food for her family.

The Mothers' Club

“The training and the ration have helped me whip up some healthy and delicious dishes that my children enjoy. I also exchange recipes with other mothers who belong to the "Mothers Club" that we had to form after completing the training," said Hawa. "I can even ask them to watch over my children when I have to step out of the house to do some errands and I volunteer to take their children to the centre for check-ups and routine monitoring in case they are unable to do so," Hawa said.

Sudan is one of 34 countries in the world with the highest burden of undernutrition. One in every three children aged under five is stunted and one out of every six children weighs too little for his or her height. Four states have acute malnutrition levels one of which is the state of North Darfur.

In 2015, WFP plans to respond to the nutritional needs of vulnerable people especially mothers and their children through a variety of interventions that include a supplementary feeding programme for all children under five, and targeted supplementary feeding for the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition among children under five and nursing and pregnant mothers. In conflict-affected region of Darfur, nearly 300,000 children aged under five, pregnant and nursing mothers will receive treatment for moderate acute malnutrition. An additional 128,000 malnourished children under five, pregnant women and nursing mothers from eastern and central Sudan will also receive treatment.

European Commission's Humanitarian and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) is WFP's main partner in its efforts to treat moderate acute malnutrition amongst vulnerable people in Sudan.