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Overcoming RUTF storage challenges in Tigray, northern Ethiopia

Lulseged Tolla, Charlotte Walford and Pankaj Kumar, Concern Worldwide Ethiopia

Lulseged Tolla has been working with Concern Worldwide since 2011 on CMAM and IYCF programmes.

Pankaj Kumar has over four years experience with Concern Worldwide in Ethiopia and has worked in a number of other African countries.

Charlotte Walford has been working with Concern Worldwide Ethiopia since September 2012 supporting their CMAM and IYCF programmes.

Introduction

The 2011 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey showed that nationally, 9.7% of children under five years old were wasted and 44.4% stunted. In Tigray Region specifically, levels of undernutrition in this age group are higher than average: 10.3% wasted and 51.4% stunted. A number of large-scale emergency and development programmes are being implemented by the Government and key stakeholders (NGOs & the United Nations) to support improved health and nutrition.

Since 2007, Concern Worldwide Ethiopia has been providing support to Tigray Region in northern Ethiopia for the treatment of acute malnutrition through an outpatient therapeutic care programme (OTP), which has now been integrated into service delivery at health facilities. In August 2009, with funding from the World Bank, the interventions were scaled-up in five woredas (districts) with high rates of acute malnutrition.

During the past four years of implementing OTP activities, it was observed that most health posts (HPs) had problems with the proper storage of RUTF and other OTP supplies. Concern Worldwide and the local government conducted an assessment of the storage situation to identify the barriers to proper storage and to develop practical and affordable solutions.

Specially designed RUTF cabinet in use, Mereb Lehe Woreda, Tigray Region, EthiopiaAssessment method

A qualitative assessment consisting of 1) key informant interviews with Health Extension Workers (HEWs) and health professionals (health extension programme supervisors and woreda health office nutrition experts) and 2) team observation was undertaken in 72 HPs in five woredas in the region.

Assessment results

Interviews and observation in the HPs identified two main issues with the storage of RUTF:

Programme Activities

To improve storage at the HPs, a number of changes were put in place:

Further recommendations

To improve storage conditions of RUTF more widely in Ethiopia, the following activities are recommended:

For more information, please contact Pankaj Kumar, pankaj.kumar@concern.net.

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Lulseged Tolla, Charlotte Walford and Pankaj Kumar (2014). Overcoming RUTF storage challenges in Tigray, northern Ethiopia. Nutrition Exchange 4, July 2014. p16. www.ennonline.net/nex/4/en/overcoming

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