Nutritional and retrospective mortality survey in Aweil Town – South Sudan
The Republic of South Sudan’s was officially proclaimed the 9th July 2011. Following independence the situation has deteriorated significantly in a various number of regions. Many issues remain unresolved within the peace agreement and despite the attention of the international community, an increasing level of insecurity along with an important movement of population and a critical living conditions challenge the young nation’s stability.
MSF France has been operating in Aweil in the Northen Bahr El Ghazal (NBeG) State since January 2008 around two main axes of intervention: obstetric-gynaecological services and nutrition feeding programmes. Since then the volume of the activities has continuously grown including also a response to epidemic emergences.
In this particular context Epicentre, in collaboration with MSF France, undertook an epidemiological field survey in order to evaluate the health conditions of the population in Aweil and surrounding areas. The nutritional status for children aged between 6-59 months were assessed, the retrospective mortality, measles vaccination coverage and access to health services of the population were also evaluated.
The study was carried out during 5 days by 8 teams. In each household interweaved information on demography, mortality, access to health care were collected, vaccination and nutritional status of children were measured.
A total of 5458 individuals were including in the study 21.6% of which were children under 5 years old. The average number of persons per family was 11.6. The study revealed a prevalence of the global acute malnutrition (GAM) in z-score of 23% (95% CI 19.6-26.9) and a severe of 4.7% (95% CI 3.2 – 6.7). However there was a noticeable difference in the nutritional status when assessed by MUAC resulted in a GAM of 4.4% (95% CI 3.0 – 6.3). Mortality rates, both crude mortality rate (CMR) and under five mortality rate (U5MR), are under the emergency threshold but the death among the children under 5 accounted for 19.2% (10 out of 52) of all deaths. The measles vaccination coverage resulted in 32.5% (95% C.I. 29,7 – 35,4) with vaccination card available as a proof .
Although the CMR and the U5MR show a normal situation for the developing countries and the nutritional situation has still not reached an alarming point, the limitation of the markets, the poverty of nutritional status together with limited resources and cultivation, may result in a deterioration of the status of some vulnerable households and make this area one of the most at risk for malnutrition and epidemics.