Rapid assessment of the nutrition needs of older people in UN House POC camps in Juba in April 2015, South Sudan

July 9, 2015

Executive Summary

From 14th to 18th April 2015, HelpAge International (HelpAge) carried out an assessment of older people’s needs in the UN House Protection of Civilians (POC) camps in Juba City. This was carried out with support from the Ministry of Health, Director of Nutrition, the South Sudan Nutrition Information Technical Working Group (NITWG) and the POC camp manager, ACTED.

The general objective of the survey was to provide thorough and robust evidence to support a specific response to the food security and nutrition needs of older men and women living in the UN House POC in Juba.

Key findings

The results show that more than 2 in 5 older persons in the UN House POC are severely or moderately malnourished and in need of treatment for malnutrition.

The prevalence of malnutrition found among older people in the POC, using mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) based case definitions for global acute malnutrition (GAM) = 44%, moderate acute malnutrition (MAM)=36.8% and severe acute malnutrition (SAM)=6.7%.

Older people report a poor dietary diversity score (DDS 3.6) and low meal frequency averaging 1.8 meals in a day. The proportion of the older people having an adequate intake of micronutrients is low. The majority of older people and their households (97.2 percent) were exposed to moderate or severe hunger during the four weeks preceding the survey.

Two out of five (47.3 percent) persons 55 years and older in the UN House POC suffer from serious psychological distress. About a fifth of the older persons (19.0 percent) are severely dependant on others for their activities of daily living.

Recommendations

• There is an urgent need to initiate discussions with WFP, UNICEF, WHO and other partners to determine the most appropriate method of ensuring that about 640 malnourished older persons in the UN House POC have access to treatment, including access to special food items (CSB+, RUTF, F100 and F75) to treat their moderate and severe malnutrition.

• HelpAge to support endorsement by the Ministry of Health (MOH) of the guidelines on nutrition and health interventions for older people in emergencies produced by HelpAge, so that partners can start adopting them in their daily work.

• HelpAge to mobilise resources to ensure that older people in the POC (1,600 to 2,000 individuals) receive micronutrient supplements to build their immune system and prevent micronutrient deficiencies associated with ageing.

• HelpAge to propose and support training for humanitarian actors to include older people’s needs in their project cycle and provide feedback to older persons on changes in entitlements when necessary.

Full report available here

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Rapid assessment of the nutrition needs of older people in UN House POC camps in Juba in April 2015, South Sudan
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