UNICEF in Action
In response to alarming rates of acute malnutrition, UNICEF has primarily focused on life-saving responses through the management of acute malnutrition based on seasonal assessments of food security and nutrition survey data provided by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit.
The focus of UNICEF’s nutritional support continues to be on support partners to implement a Basic Nutrition Services Package (BNSP). The package was developed to support delivery of cost effective and efficacious interventions with a holistic life-cycle approach. It looks at not only reducing mortality and morbidity but also implementing nutrition interventions that promote optimal development. Highlights of the BNSP include the management of acute malnutrition, micronutrient support, deworming, immunizations, IYCF, maternal nutrition and care, and prevention and treatment of common childhood illnesses.
UNICEF Somalia has one of the largest nutrition programmes in the region in relation to need and has consistently met SPHERE Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response, standards in its programming. Over the last 20 years nutrition programming in Somalia has tended to prioritize the integrated management of acute malnutrition (IMAM) however significant effort has been made in the last two years to refocus on preventative interventions especially infant and young child feeding.
National Nutrition Strategy
To address the complex and overlapping causes of malnutrition, the 2011–2013 Somali Nutrition Strategy advocates for a holistic package of cross-sectoral interventions to reduce malnutrition, including improved access to and utilization of services for the management of malnutrition in women and children, sustained availability of nutrition information, operational research into effective responses to the causes of malnutrition; increased appropriate knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding infant, young child, and maternal nutrition, availability and coverage of micronutrients and deworming interventions, mainstreaming of nutrition as a key component of health and other relevant sectors, and improved in-country capacity and means to deliver essential nutrition services.
Support for IYCF
UNICEF and partners have scaled-up support and training for IYCF counseling and promotion activities at both the facility and community level. IYCF strategy and action plans (2012-2016) have been developed and disseminated for Somaliland and Puntland. The process for south central zone is ongoing and will be complete by the end of 2012. These documents provide the strategic framework of comprehensive and agreed upon actions with the aim of improving IYCF practices and the creation of an enabling environment.
Basic Nutrition Services Package
UNICEF and nutrition cluster partners have committed to implementing programmes that address the essential components of the package, notably management of acute malnutrition, deworming, micronutrient support, immunizations, IYCF, maternal nutrition and care, and prevention management of common childhood illnesses.
Staving off famine
To prevent more people from reaching famine conditions, UNICEF and partner agencies has put in place a five-pronged strategy of scaling up treatment services for severe and moderate acute malnutrition, blanket supplementary feeding for families with children under 5 years and/or pregnant and lactating women, wet feeding for select IDP populations, and a cash-based response initiative.