Burundi has one of the highest stunting rates in the world and in contrast the highest exclusive breastfeeding rate.
Burundi has one of the highest stunting rate in the world 54 per cent (JANSFA 2019). Boys are more affected than girls (59.4 and 52.4 per cent respectively), and rural children are more at risk of being stunted than their urban counterparts, 58.8 and 27.8 per cent respectively. The same geographic disparity is noted for severe acute malnutrition (0.3 per cent urban and 1 per cent rural).
In addition to poverty, high fertility rate, maternal education and household wealth levels, the nutritional knowledge of mothers and feeding care practices, as well as access to safe water and sanitation are important risk factors for achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2.
Stunting affects more than 60 per cent of children under five in rural area and is influenced by multiple causes: poverty, poor economic development, poor nutrition for children and their mothers, high prevalence of diseases, lack of hygiene and sanitation, early and close pregnancies, and gender inequalities impacting decision-making about household resources. To reverse this trend, a multisectoral response is needed.
UNICEF supports the Government in Burundi and partners to fight malnutrition in a sustainable way.
UNICEF focuses on an inclusive approach that empowers women and men to address malnutrition and vulnerability among the most affected households using community-based Nutrition approach. This method directly benefits children under five years of age, pregnant and lactating women. UNICEF contributes to the efforts of the government of Burundi and its nutrition partners to reduce chronic malnutrition in children under five years of age, by focusing on the delivery of high impact nutrition specific and sensitive interventions during the first 1,000 days of life at community and health facility levels. Through the capacity building of actors at all levels, the priority interventions are:
- Communication strategies for behavioural change;
- Promotion of good feeding practices on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF);
- Home fortification with micronutrient powders for children under 2 years;
- Vitamin A supplementation twice a year for children under five years;
- Treatment of children with severe acute malnutrition;
Early childhood development communication and other practices, such as handwashing, UNICEF works with partners to support the government in the development of national Nutrition documents, guidelines, protocols, training modules and communication tools.
The community-based nutrition package is delivered through the Positive deviance/hearth (PD Hearth) approach using “Light Mother” or “Maman Lumière” as Model Mother for their community in term of feeding and key family practices. Light Mothers are trained and equipped to promote key family practices, to organize rehabilitation of moderate acute malnutrition children with locally, affordable nutritious food at the community level.
‘’Mamans Lumière’’ are model mothers who succeeded in providing quality nutrition to their children, who ultimately do not suffer from malnutrition. They are identified by the community as exemplary to teach and support other mothers on how to prepare balanced meals and to revert malnutrition during a 12 days nutritional rehabilitation session and beyond, hosted at the ‘’Maman Lumière’’’s house. This method is called the ‘’Positive Deviance Hearth (PDH) approach.
Available publications, surveys, reports will be added in this section.