January to December 2019
Nutrition projects in the 2019 HRP
A total of 3,306,405 people were identified to be food insecure by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) and received humanitarian assistance through the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) from October 2018 to March 2019. Later in March 2019, Malawi experienced one of the worst tropical cyclone that formed in the Mozambican channel, bringing heavy rains and strong winds. Severe flooding negatively affected people’s lives, livelihoods and socio-economic infrastructure, pushing more people into poverty. In total, an estimated 975,000 people were affected, with 86,976 displaced, 60 killed and 672 injured. In total, fifteen districts were impacted. In view of this, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) Malawi activated the nutrition cluster to effective respond to the flood emergency. UNICEF as the Cluster Lead agency Nutrition Cluster and in collaboration with the Department of Nutrition, HIV/AIDS (DNHA), has consistently provided technical and leadership support in co-leading the Malawi nutrition cluster. The nutrition cluster ensured that government and development partners responded swiftly to the disaster, immediately implementing life-saving interventions and rapidly mobilizing resources to scale up nutrition interventions. The Government of Malawi conducted a Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) in April 2019, to thoroughly understand the effects and impacts of the heavy rains and floods. The report indicated that livelihood sources such as agriculture experienced effects from 47,504 livestock deaths and over 91,638 hectares of productive land affected. Crops such as maize, pulses, sorghum and rice, key to household food and income sources were seriously affected, indicating outright crop failure and immediate food insecurity for 2,300,363 farming households affected. This will consequently affect the food, income and nutrition security of affected households. Moving forward, Government requires support towards coordinating recovery interventions, building resilience of the districts most affected by cyclone Idai and preparedness actions for the upcoming lean season. UNICEF Malawi through the cluster, will continue to support the Government.
In June 2019, UNICEF supported the nutrition cluster to conduct a nutrition survey using the the Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) methodology which estimated the prevalence of global acute malnutrition at 0.5% down from 1.3% in February 2018 despite the shocks experienced by the country.
Following a state of emergency declaration by the government of Malawi, the nutrition cluster and others were re-activated to ensure response, to the cyclone Idai flood was adequate, elaborate and timely.
The nutrition cluster developed a response plan, with the following response strategy;
I). Provision of quality of care for prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition among vulnerable groups (infants, children, pregnant and lactating, PLHIV).
II). Strengthening community capacity and linkages to enhance early identification of malnutrition and timely referral to health/nutrition facilities.
III). Prevention and protection for vulnerable groups, against the deterioration of nutrition status by continued provision of preventative nutrition support through provision of adequate targeted food assistance, fortified food blends, Micro nutrient powders (MNPs) Vitamin A supplementation, and deworming targeting high risk groups (infants, pregnant, lactating, and PLHIV).
IV). Strengthening nutrition cluster coordination at national and district level
Among the key challenges noted, during the response are the following;
1). Inadequate coordination around funding -some donors financed partners, without consultation with the cluster/coordination; basically, some partners implement directly without consulting the Cluster and relevant government authorities which resulted in duplication of efforts in some areas whilst other areas had gaps.
2). Reliance on external funding for the emergency response. The government allocated inadequate resources, due to competing priorities.
3). Partners focused on providing services in camps, thus leaving behind those displaced but integrated in relations households.
4) Nutrition not adequately integrated in social protection. Nutrition education should be included alongside the cash transfers.
The following are the 2020 priorities for the Nutrition Cluster: