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Nutrition in conflict situations

  • Florence Egal (a1)

Abstract

High prevalence of malnutrition is often linked to conflict situations. Conflicts affect local livelihoods, impair productive activities and limit access to safe foods and basic services. Strategies to protect and promote nutrition of affected households and communities must be based on an understanding of this impact. While nutrition rehabilitation and food aid are clearly essential to preserve lives in the short run, they cannot provide lasting solutions. Impaired nutritional status ultimately reflects livelihood degradation but anthropometric indicators cannot be used to target timely interventions. They should be combined with simple indicators of food consumption which react more quickly to both crisis and relief/rehabilitation interventions. Local institutions should be encouraged to share information and build causality models of malnutrition for the main vulnerable livelihood groups as a basis for an integrated response. A communication component will systematically be needed to allow people to make informed decisions in a context with which they are often not familiar.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author:  Dr Florence Egal, fax +39 06 570 3126, email florence.egal@fao.org

References

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Collins, S (2001) Changing the way we address severe malnutrition during famine. Lancet 358, 9280 498501.
Salama, P, Spiegel, P, Talley, L & Waldman, R (2004) Lessons learned from complex emergencies over past decade. Lancet 364, 18011813.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (1995) Commodity Distribution, A Practical Guide for Field Staff. Geneva: UNHCR.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2004) Integration of HIV/AIDS Activities with Food and Nutrition Support in Refugee Settings: Specific Programme Strategies. Geneva: UNHCR.
United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition (2000) Report of the Meeting of the Working Group on Nutrition in Emergencies. http://www.unsystem.org/scn/Publications/AnnualMeeting/SCN26/nutritionemergencies.htm
Young, H, Borrel, A, Holland, D & Salama, P (2004) Public nutrition in complex emergencies. Lancet 364, 18991909.

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