The five SMART surveys done in drought-affected districts indicate global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate at acceptable level (<5 per cent), but this could change due to economic stress on population as a result of COVID-19.
Over 13,500 children aged 6-59 months in 17 districts need nutritional supplements to prevent stunting.
There is a need to maintain nutritional services and protect service providers during COVID-19 outbreak and minimize the disruption to services.
Sector partners procured nutrition supplies and equipment, and all the 58 priority districts are receiving Ready to Use Food, F-100/75.
Partners in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS) provided technical guidance and mentorship at health facilities in four districts (Gwembe, Lunga, Sioma and Shangombo districts) out of the 58 prioritized districts.
Training materials and monitoring tools have been printed and provided for trainings, programme monitoring and reporting to improve on programme quality.
Procured PPE supplies for 17 districts to be used to prevent and mitigate COVID-19 at nutrition services delivered through facilities and outreach sites.
Partners streamlined technical support for the development of IYCF counselling card in the context of COVID-19 and assisted in the printing and distribution of this card across the country.
Supported facilitation of lower level supplies distribution (up to district level) in hard to reach areas such as Lunga District with bad terrain that incur high cost of transport.
Procurement of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) MAM kits are currently disrupted due to global pandemic. Sector partners were unable to purchase the kits offshore due to high demand and air freight embargoes.
Field observation and assessment conducted at the beginning of the year in high priority district health facilities suggested that there is inadequate technical expertise of health workers on management of SAM and MAM cases.
Risk of cross infection of service providers and beneficiaries if prevention and WHO COVID-19 standard procedures are not observed and regularly monitored.
Lack of appropriate communication and messaging at the health facility and community level to ensure adherence to SOPs and guidelines on best practices and prevention of infection.