UNICEF is supporting the monitoring of under-five child growth and is building capacity for the regular screening of children under five for malnutrition - particularly during emergencies and in those areas where food insecurity continues to threaten lives. In 2009, in the three regions most severely affected by drought in southern Madagascar, UNICEF helped provide training to more than 7,000 community volunteers to ensure the correct identification and treatment of malnourished children.
Through the National Nutritional Action Plan, UNICEF has helped promote improved maternal health care and nutrition. Interventions include providing iron foliate supplements, and promoting early and exclusive breastfeeding for babies and infants.
As a result of interventions during Mother and Child Health Weeks in 2008 and 2009, nearly 100 percent of children aged between 6 and 59 months received vitamin A supplements to strengthen their immune systems; and in 2009, more than 11,000 children in southern Madagascar were treated for severe acute malnutrition.