By the year 2012, UNICEF will have helped reduce infant, child and maternal mortality, achieving key results that include ensuring at least 80 per cent of children under the age of five and 65 per cent of women of child-bearing age have access to a minimum package of health services.
Tackling micronutrient deficiency
UNICEF supports the tackling of micro-nutrient deficiencies, low birth weight and chronic malnutrition through increased routine vitamin A supplementation, iron and folic acid supplementation, promotion of iodised salt, and the marketing of fortified foods such as flour and sugar.
"My child could hardly walk before receiving supplementary feeding treatment - now she can walk and play !" Mother of five year old girl suffering malnutrition, Juba.
Improving both child and maternal nutrition is based on support to growth monitoring and promotion within health facilities, the promotion of breastfeeding and complementary feeding, and improving household caring practices through routine, community-based health and nutrition services.
Treatment and prevention of malnutrition
UNICEF supports a range of activities to ensure capacity to detect, prevent and treat malnutrition in Sudan, including early warning systems and nutritional surveys, coordinating responses with partners and contributing to multi-sectoral approaches for prevention of malnutrition. To help tackle acute malnutrition, UNICEF provides technical support and equipment to partners, helps to consolidate national standards and supplies specialist foods such as therapeutic milk and nutritional pastes for rehabilitation of severe malnutrition in both facility base and community based selective feeding programmes. Support is also provided for strengthening identification and referral systems for severely malnourished children.
UNICEF also works with government to deliver a ‘Minimum Nutrition Package’ of key preventive activities in health facilities, through a standardised health worker training package and provision of material support for implementation of services. Preventive activities include vitamin A supplementation for children and postpartum women, growth monitoring and promotion, distribution of iodized oil capsules in areas where goitre is endemic, promotion of iodised salt, iron and folate supplementation for pregnant women, promotion of optimal infant and young child feeding and screening and referral for treatment. These services are delivered through the Sudan Accelerated Child Survival Initiative which brings together a package of key health activities, all of which are known to have a significant impact on reducing mortality rates.
Policy, systems and capacity development
At national level, UNICEF is working with government partners to develop nutrition policies and advocating for legislation on fortified foods, as well as supporting the training and skills development of nutrition workers.