Conference abstract

Refugees from Mosul: assessing malnutrition among children under 12 months

Pan African Medical Journal - Conference Proceedings. 2018:9(40).21 Sep 2018.
doi: 10.11604/pamj-cp.2018.9.40.767
Archived on: 21 Sep 2018
Contact the corresponding author
Keywords: Malnutrition, children, Iraq, Mosul, breastfeeding, formula milk
Oral presentation

Refugees from Mosul: assessing malnutrition among children under 12 months

Jihane Ben Farhat1,&, Mohamad Haidar1, Kerstin Hanson2, Malika Saim2, Pia Juul Bjertrup1, Evgenia Zelikova3, Klaudia Porten1

1Epicentre, Paris, France, 2Médecins Sans Frontières, Operational Center Paris, France, 3Médecins Sans Frontières, Erbil mission, Iraq

&Corresponding author
Jihane Ben Farhat, Epicentre, Paris, France


Introduction: a five month siege was struck on Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, leading to the mass displacement of its population. Malnutrition screening in displacement camps targeting children aged 6 - 59 months resulted low prevalence rates. Nevertheless, MSF teams operating a healthcare facility in Qayyarah, one of the major sites of displacement, reported high bed occupancy rates of severe malnutrition (SM) among children less than six months of age. The aims of the study were: to estimate the prevalence rate of malnutrition among infants less than 12 months and to explore the barriers to feeding children.

Methods: an exhaustive malnutrition assessment targeting children less than 12 months old was conducted in Al Jad’ah camps, Qayyarah. Weight-for-age zscore (WAZ) and/or edema or middle upper arm circumference (MUAC) and/or edema were used to define SM. Semi-structured interviews with mothers of hospitalized SM children and key informants were conducted.

Results: almost one-quarter of the infants less than six months were suffering of SM; 123/484 (25%) and 127/484 (26%) using either criteria. Among infants of 6 - 11 months old, 20% were screened with moderate acute malnutrition and 12% with severe acute malnutrition. Population practices, trauma mental health, malnutrition of mothers and lack of formula milk were all factors affecting infant feeding patters.

Conclusion: the results highlight a large burden of malnutrition among infants attributed to various factors affecting infant feeding patterns. This study signifies the importance of adapting interventions to population needs, ensuring the availability of breastmilk substitutes. Consequently, MSF reoriented the operational strategy to establish an ambulatory therapeutic feeding center (ATFC) and increase the ITFC bed capacity in Qayyarah hospital.