Malnutrition prevalence in DPRK remains high. Currently about one in four women in the reproductive age (15-49) are malnourished. As per 2012 National Nutrition Survey, prevalence of malnutrition amongst children under five remain of concern - stunting 27.9%, underweight 15.2%, wasting 4%, despite the slight improvement since the 2009 MICS (respectively 32.4%, 18.8% and 5.2%). There are also clear geographical disparities with stunting rate highest in Ryanggang with 39.6%.
UNICEF is involved in policy and strategy development regarding child and maternal nutrition in the country. The National Community Management of Acute Malnutrition is being finalized. The Government initiated also the design of a National Nutrition Strategy, micronutrient supplementation guidelines as well as Baby-Friendly Community Initiative important for the promotion of optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding promotion. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is also being revised.
UNICEF works in the area of treatment and prevention of acute malnutrition with support to all baby homes, provincial pediatric and 29 county hospitals and close to 1,000 ri/dong clinics, particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. Between October 2011 and November 2012, 17,585 severe acute malnourished children were treated either in hospitals (4,976 children) or in ri/dong clinics and baby homes (12,609). About 84% of SAM children treated in county hospitals were cured, 86% in provincial hospitals, 94% in Ri/Dong clinics and 92% in Baby Homes.
Through support to the Government, some other major nutrition interventions of UNICEF in DPRK are the prevention of malnutrition through the promotion of optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding. The prevention and treatment of micronutrients deficiencies is done through national mass intervention such as Child Health Days (vitamin A supplementation and deworming) twice a year and through national routine activities such as post-partum vitamin A supplementation, iron and folic acid supplementation for pre-pregnant women and multiple micronutrient supplementation to pregnant and lactating women. The multi-micronutrients powder supplementation for children 6-23 months will be strengthened in 2013.