Somali children and their mothers continue to suffer from multiple nutritional deprivations which deny them the opportunity to thrive and reach their full developmental potential. There are high levels of acute malnutrition, underweight and stunting combined with a high prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies and suboptimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices.
The number of affected children remains high with an estimated 307,750 children under the age of five acutely malnourished (December 2015), including 55,780 who are severely malnourished (at any one moment in time) and who carry a high mortality risk and require lifesaving therapeutic nutritional support. More than two thirds of the affected children are in the southern and central regions. The nutrition situation of IDPs remains critical. Overall there is improvement in prevalence trends of severe acute malnutrition from Serious to Alert levels (2.6% of children aged under five after the 2014 Gu rainy season which is the primary cropping season and runs from April to June down to 2.2% at the same time in 2015. Young children are likely to suffer multiple episodes of acute malnutrition.
Somalia is characterized by some of the worst Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) and micronutrient indicators in the world. According to the FSNAU Micronutrient Survey (2009), the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding in Somalia is 5.3% while the prevalence of early initiation is 23.4%. Nearly three quarters (73%) of children under two are anaemic, almost half of all women and 60% of under-fives.