GUINEA: Child malnutrition - moving beyond stop-gaps

February 25, 2010

“'The break in WFP’s pipeline is representative of the problem everyone has finding [aid] funding for Guinea,' Reza Kasraï, head of Action Contre la Faim (ACF) in Guinea, told IRIN. 'We’re in a no-man’s land between a politically stable country where donors would like to give development funds and a full-on emergency where humanitarian donors contribute regardless of the political situation.'

ACF’s Kasraï said it is important to use an integrated approach – not only therapeutic feeding but also programmes to address the principal causes of undernutrition in Guinea, by boosting people’s livelihoods, ensuring proper breastfeeding and weaning practices and improving home hygiene and access to health services, sanitation and safe water. He said there is a growing movement towards community- and even household-based management of MAM, which would also reduce the strain on health centres.

'The challenge is in finding a reliable way of ensuring that moderately malnourished children receive fortified [with vitamins and other micronutrients] and high-caloric diets in the home." A January 2010 ACF nutritional survey in Conakry’s Matoto commune shows a global acute malnutrition rate of 7.3 percent, with 1.6 percent severe acute malnutrition, he said. “While these percentages are not alarming, if you look at absolute numbers you’re talking about some 10,000 children suffering acute malnutrition – and that is in just one of five Conakry communes.'”