NUTRITION SURVEYS IN SOMALIA 1980 - 1996

Authors:
Christine Cambrezy WFP/FSAU Nutritionist
INTRODUCTION
The main purpose of this work is to try to design a baseline on malnutrition rates in Somalia on different periods and by areas. Before the war, little background information existed on health and nutritional status among representative populations in Somalia. Studies tend to focus on distressed populations, so baseline data are difficult to locate. It appears that a lot of health records and libraries had been destroyed during the fighting making it difficult to trace studies. Some nutrition surveys had been conducted before 1987, but most of the nutrition surveys have been carried out in 1987 in drought affected areas. Several years of drought coupled with extended civil unrest, the collapse of government and the destruction of the country‟s infrastructure created a situation in 1992 where thousands of people were reported as malnourished and dying. Relief workers were experiencing extreme difficulties in providing aid because of the insecure conditions. Between mid 1991 and early 1993, a number of epidemiological studies were undertaken to assess the situation. Geographically, most of the studies were conducted in the Central and Southern parts of the country. Since late 1993 up to 1996 several nutrition surveys were conducted in order to establish reference of malnutrition rates in some areas. In fact the objectives of the surveys were sometimes not well defined. The methodologies followed are still very different from one agency to the other, and it is difficult to define baseline on malnutrition rate from these information.

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