Distribution of seeds and agricultural tools (by FAO and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives) started on the 20 of August 2007; so far, 2,426 families from three constituencies benefited. The distribution started in the Hhohho Region, which usually sees early rains. This will facilitate timely ploughing and planting. UNICEF advocated for the victims of forest fires to be included, as they have lost most of their belongings, and it was confirmed that these will be included in the second phase, starting 22 October 2007.
The Food Security Consortium met and validated food distribution zones in Manzini and Hhohho Regions. The Consortium categorised the different Constituencies into priorities 1-4; priority 1 the most critical and priority 4 the least. Priority 1 sites have been earmarked for immediate response upon release of Government pledged funds. UNICEF will use the categorisation as a guide for response.
Health and Nutrition/WASH
UNICEF and WHO collaborated in training of 40 regional health managers and health service providers to prepare micro plans. This was done in order to identify children and mothers who are not reached by immunization and clinical care.
Twenty-six (26) health workers were trained on management of severe acute malnutrition (therapeutic feeding). These were from Mbabane Government Hospital, RFM Hospital in Manzini and Hlatikhulu Hospital. Health workers from Pigg’s Peak Hospital and Good Shepherd Hospital in Siteki did not turn up. However, training will take place on site. Therapeutic Feeding Centres (TFC) are already taking place in the Good Shepherd Hospital, but not in Pigg's Peak.
Through sentinel sites' surveillance, it appears that moderate malnutrition is on the rise. Analysis of data from five sentinel sites show that severe under nutrition still stands at 2 per cent, while moderate malnutrition rose from 13 to 19 per cent from one week to another. See figure 1. UNICEF will continue to strengthen the sentinel sites surveillance.
UNICEF, in cooperation with Swaziland Water Services Cooperation (SWSC) assessed the water situation in Hlatikulu Hospital in Shiselweni Region in preparation for the onset of therapeutic feeding. The water quantity is adequate and quality generally acceptable. However, it has been 14 years since the hospital's reservoir was cleaned; on 24 August such a cleaning took place. UNICEF is advocating for SWSC Central Laboratory to carry out tests of waters in all hospitals undertaking therapeutic feeding.
Last week, UNICEF visited four constituencies in all four regions to monitor the impact of drought. The community leadership provided the following information:
- Number of households in need of food assistance increasing;
- Malnutrition related illnesses on the increase (marasmus, kwashiorkor and pellagra); and
- The water situation is deteriorating.