Deployment 2

Name of Sector: Assessment

Date of Deployment: 11 November 2019 – 7 February 2020

Reason for request:

Significant rainfall deficits in the southern half of Zambia in 2018-2019 resulted in devastating effects on agriculture production and consequent acute food insecurity. A projected 2.3 million people in these districts were food insecure and in urgent need of action during the lean season (October 2019 – March 2020) to protect their livelihoods and reduce food consumption gaps. The Zambia Vulnerability Assessment conducted in July 2019 integrated a nutrition assessment component, the results of which revealed a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) of 8.7% in 87 of the districts and 58 of these districts were considered drought affected. However, the anthropometric data was considered of questionable quality. Further, there was very little existing capacity in the country for the implementing of emergency nutrition assessments.

It was therefore of great interest to stakeholders in Zambia to better understand the malnutrition status in the drought affected districts. UNICEF Zambia requested the Tech RRT consortium to coordinate the implementation of a series of surveys to assess the nutrition status of the 58 drought affected districts. On 11 November 2019 The Tech RRT Assessment Advisor was deployed to Lusaka, Zambia.

Key achievements: 

  • Developed a Nutrition 4W to support the response
  • Conducted a nutrition assessment capacity mapping exercise for Zambia
  • Established and supported an Assessment Technical Working Group
  • Designed and coordinated the Zambia Emergency Nutrition Assessment (ZENA), aimed at implementing 10 SMART surveys
  • Negotiated the arrival of two SMART advisors to conduct a SMART Manager level training in Lusaka
  • Developed and adapted survey tools for the ZENA, including electronic questionnaire for mobile data collection translated into 4 local languages
  • Provided technical support to the SMART surveyor trainings (5)


Deployment 1

Name of Sector: CMAM

Date of Deployment: 11 November 2019 – 25 January 2020

Reason for request:

Significant rainfall deficits in the southern, western and parts of central province in Zambia resulted in devastating effects on agriculture production and consequent acute food insecurity in the affected areas. A total of 58 districts out of 118 districts in the southern and western regions of Zambia were greatly affected. About 1.8 million people are in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and therefore marginally able to meet minimum food needs through depleting essential livelihood assets or through negative crisis coping strategies. 410,000 people are in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency), facing large food gaps. In all the districts classified in Phase 3 or worse, households have already started employing food-based coping strategies, such as reducing the number of meals and meal portions, with some having experienced problems in food access in the preceding 30 days. A projected 2.3 million people in these districts are expected to be food insecure and in need of urgent action during the peak lean season (October 2019 – March 2020) to protect their livelihoods and reduce food consumption gaps.

The Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) prevalence in the drought-affected regions of the country is 8.7% (whilst the results were released, the data is still under validation). The Ministry of Health routine data showed that the average reported mortality from SAM in children below the age of five years, from 2016-2018 was 8% (from children enrolled in a treatment programme), indicating poor quality of services for the SAM Children. This mortality rate, if applied to the estimated number of cases of SAM for 2019, tragically translates to an estimated 11,600 child deaths. This data is likely to be under reported, due to documented problems with the information system.

Given the drought situation, the number of admissions of children suffering from SAM and MAM in the coming months is expected to be much higher compare to previous year trends, and this does not include children who don’t seek treatment, another aspect of the actual program also identified as weak that will need specific attention.

Thus; to improve the quality of the management of SAM cases and to absorb the potential increase of cases due to the drought and the revitalisation of the active case finding, there is an urgent need for strong capacity development to improve quality of treatment, accompanied with appropriate provision of therapeutic supplies and systematic medical treatment for both the inpatient and outpatient care. It is therefore imperative for Zambia to invest in strengthening services for improving quality and coverage of SAM management and prevention services to reduce mortality.

Key achievements: 

  • CMAM programme scale up plan including a) supply needs, b) distribution plan, c) capacity building plan, d) monitoring and supervision plan outlining gaps, activities, timeline, and resources and funding needed.
  • Brief report on the capacity strengthening activities undertaken, including trainings, mentoring of partners and ‘on the job’ technical support provided.
  • Reviewed database to monitor the CMAM programme: Recommendations on how to improve data collection and reporting quality to track progress using indicators agreed upon by the Nutrition Sector members.
  • Hand over briefing document for in-coming Emergency Nutrition Specialist with priority actions that need to be taken forward.