Maternal and child nutrition
Contributing for adequate nutrition for every women and children
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Inequalities in child undernutrition across regions and wealth quintiles are pronounced in Guinea-Bissau. The high levels of poverty translate into poor nutrition. Stunting rates in the poorest households (40.6 percent) are more than twice those in the richest households (17.8 percent). Stunting rates are nearly uniformly high across the three lowest wealth quintiles, even in the wealthiest households, nearly one-fifth of the children are stunted.
Over the past decade stunting prevalence has seen steady improvements. The percentage of children who are stunted (< -2 SD height-for-age) was estimated at 27.6 percent in 2014, which is a decline from the estimates from 2006 and 2010 (MICS 2014; MICS 2010; MICS 2006).
As a member of the scaling up nutrition (SUN) movement, Guinea-Bissau has demonstrated its readiness to tackle undernutrition and placed stunting reduction firmly on the political agenda. The alignment of the stunting reduction target of the national nutrition strategy (2016-2020) with the world health assembly targets 2025 is one of the main high impact interventions to reduce stunting.
UNICEF support to the ministry of health
UNICEF supports each year the ministry of health in the organization of two rounds of vitamin A supplementation and deworming for children under 5. In 2018, 282,534 (97%) children 6 to 59 months were supplemented with vit. A and 253,690 (100%) children 12 to 59 month received deworming tablets (mebendazole). This year (2019) UNICEF supported the process and introduction of vitamin A supplementation and deworming in the routine activities of community health workers.
A national protocol on integrated management of acute malnutrition (IMAM) was introduced in Guinea-Bissau with UNICEF support through training and supplies for the screening and treatment of cases of severe acute malnutrition (with and without complications) in children under 5. Inpatient and outpatient treatment of severe acute malnutrition was set up in 78 health structures around the country with more then 1000 new admissions each year.
UNICEF partnering for nutrition
In 2017, a close partnership focusing on, amongst other sectors, nutrition was established between UNICEF and the World Bank. Partnering under the scale up nutrition (SUN) movement, has resulted in pushing the nutrition agenda and in the appointment of a national SUN focal.
With the support of UNICEF, a south-south cooperation agreement between Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde was established with the objective of supporting the ministry of health in to the implementation of the baby friendly hospital initiative in the country. A team of 4 Cape Verde experts trained 35 health technicians in management of the breastfeeding, 11 of which were trained to be trainers. The ECOWAS 15th west african nutrition forum in October 2017 under the theme of improving nutrition surveillance was also supported by UNICEF and other partners. This was the first time ever that Guinea-Bissau organized this forum, which gave increased visibility to nutrition-related issues.