Malnutrition in Akobo County

Author(s): Bilkey and Nyandit Payams, Akobo County, Jonglei State by Medair and Save the Children. February 2010

Extract from Nutrition Survey Report:

A nutrition survey of young children was carried out by Medair (see and Save the Children in Southern Sudan (SCiSS) (see in February 2010 (the mid-dry season) in Bilkey and Nyandit Payams, Akobo County. This was in response to a previous evaluation of the nutrition situation in Akobo town in January 2010. This had found that lack of rain had led to a high level of food insecurity, and increasing levels of malnutrition. The objectives of the survey were:

  • To quantify the nutritional status of young children
  • To determine the underlying causes of malnutrition
  • To estimate the retrospective crude and under 5 mortality rates
  • To estimate the coverage of measles vaccination
  • To collect baseline information needed to make informed recommendations for future programming and possible interventions in the area.

Anthropometric data were analysed for 840 children aged 6 – 59 months  (30 clusters of 28 children). Mortality data was based on a sample of 2562. 10 focus groups were held.


There were high rates of acute malnutrition (Global Acute Malnutrition = 45.7% using weight-for-height z score and 27% using mid-arm-circumference); crude mortality rate (total deaths/10,000 people/day) was 0.43 and under 5 mortality rate (deaths of under-5 year olds/10,000 under five year old children/day) was 1.19. Child health indicators were poor, with a high percentage of morbidity (particularly diarrhoea) combined with low measles and vitamin A coverage.

The rates of global acute malnutrition are above the WHO crisis level but death rates are below WHO emergency levels. Reasons for this finding may be that the feeding programme started in 2009 was enough to prevent some deaths, or that the more vulnerable died during the tribal attacks of 2009.


The nutrition programme at Akobo hospital is filled beyond capacity and the food security outlook is poor. Therefore it is recommended that:

  • There are general food distributions to the entire population until the next crops are harvested – and close monitoring to ensure that a full ration is received by the intended beneficiaries and that the vulnerable receive their share.
  • Supplemental feeding programme is restarted. The programme should be accessible to the population, which live outside Akobo town and should be available to families that may return to Nyandit.

Thanks to SCiSS and Medair for allowing us to publish this summary.