NEW YORK (January 29, 2014) – For the first time in Sudan, the Simple Spatial Survey Methodology (S3M) has been used to collect data on child malnutrition, showing the difference in performance of health and nutrition services right down to locality level in each of Sudan’s 18 states.
"The S3M survey is a gold mine of credible data on child malnutrition and its underlying causes. Up-to-date, reliable data are indispensable to realize the right of every child in Sudan. They are essential to plan, budget, refine and deliver services for children in every locality of the country," said Mr Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF’s Representative in Sudan.
"Up to now, Sudan has only had general data on the nutritional status of its children, and we know that national and even state level averages often mask disparities at lower levels. With these new survey results, we know exactly where the pockets of high need are located. This means that investment can be tailored to make sure that every single child in need is reached."
The S3M survey methodology has been used in other countries before, including Niger, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia but the Sudan S3M has the greatest number of indicators so far: 64 in total covering child and maternal health and nutrition as well as water and sanitation services.
The Sudan S3M survey results portray a mix of very different realities across the country with high levels of stunting (chronic malnutrition) and low levels of access to safe water and sanitation.
Poor child feeding practices are a problem across the country, with localities in Kassala and Gedaref states being some of the most critical. Access to safe drinking water and improved latrine facilities is lowest in the Eastern region and in the three Kordofan states, while prevalence of diarrhoea is highest in Red Sea, Blue Nile and the Darfur region. There has been a positive change with more than 90 percent of households in some localities in Red Sea, South Darfur, Blue Nile and Kassala now using adequately iodized salt.
Stepping up the response to malnutrition
The S3M survey is a significant and timely intervention toward tackling malnutrition in Sudan. Data collection for the Sudan S3M was undertaken in June, July and November 2013 involving 133 teams (532 individuals) and 39 supervisors from state and federal levels of Government. It is estimated that the total cost of the survey amounts to $1.5 million. Now, the challenge lies in using the new data for better planning and budgeting for the critical and essential services that will help Sudan’s children survive and thrive.
The Ministry of Health endorsed the Sudan S3M survey results on December 30 last year and the survey is part of a national, multi-sector process for increased attention on child nutrition. Last year in Sudan, a nutrition policy brief was endorsed and this is already feeding into the development of a broad, multi-sector strategy. Work has begun to create a national nutrition council with membership from all relevant ministries and leadership by the Vice President’s office. A comprehensive investment plan for addressing child malnutrition in Sudan is also in the works as are plans to make Sudan part of the global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement.
“The contours of a solid, tailored and evidence based response to address child malnutrition in Sudan are emerging. I want to congratulate the Ministry of Health for its convening role and reiterate UNICEF’s continued support in these efforts. Investing in children’s adequate nutrition is a cornerstone of human development, indeed of national economic development. Growing up well-fed and healthy is the right of every child, and a prerequisite of building an educated and productive citizenry in any nation,” said Geert Cappelaere. At UNICEF, we call on all walks of life inside and outside of Sudan to be a part of this drive to stamp out child malnutrition.
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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.
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Andrea Sioris, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9136, firstname.lastname@example.org