Save the Children
An estimated 13.5 million people needed humanitarian assistance in Syria, 4.5 million located in so-called ‘hard to reach’ and besieged areas. Whilst these were predominantly in Northern Syria, the ‘hard to reach’ and besieged areas, were also in Central and Southern areas of Syria, requiring support. The Nutrition Cluster worked closely with the Health Cluster to promote an integrated package of nutrition and health services such as IYCF-E counseling and treatment for acute malnutrition. Prior to the Syrian crisis, IYCF was already far from optimal with just 46% of babies breastfed within 1 hour of birth and 43% exclusively breastfed. Breastmilk formulas and bottle feeding were common practices because of breastfeeding misconceptions & beliefs. In response, partners implemented humanitarian nutrition programs with a strong emphasis on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E) programming. However, it was a relatively new area for most partners as such significant technical support was required.
Tech RRT Advisors (IYCF-E and SBC) were requested to work with the cluster and members to conduct the Knowledge Attitude and Practice Baseline survey. They also provided senior leadership, technical support and capacity building for the ongoing advocacy campaign and IYCF-E programming to strengthen the overall delivery of the IYCF-E response.
The principal objective of the Nutrition Cluster is to rapidly scale up both preventive and curative nutrition services across areas that can be reached by partners.
In October 2020, Turkey was hosting more than 3,624,941 Syrian refugees which consist of 60% of all Syrian refugees according to UNHCR. The European Union in partnership with the Turkish government launched the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) in 2016 to assist vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey to address basic needs such as access to food. During 2019, high inflation escalated food prices to 28%, and many Syrians resolved by cutting the quantity and diversity of their food intake and consuming food of low nutrient quantity which jeopardized their nutrition status. In return Children, pregnant women and lactating women were most affected. As such there was a need to assess the food security and nutrition needs of Turkey and Syria households. WHH contracted a company to conduct the survey
WHH lacked the capacity to provide technical oversight to the research company on some aspects such as sampling methodology, data monitoring, and data analysis). WHH requested the support of the GNC Technical Alliance for remote technical backstopping to WHH to ensure the quality of the research company's work and the overall success of the assessment.
The Syria crisis continued to increase humanitarian needs for over 10 years of hostility and destruction of civilian infrastructures worsened by climate change economic instability and increased vulnerability. Overall people’s ability to meet basic needs further decreased compared to 2020, with a consistently disproportionate impact on female-headed households, older persons without family support, persons with disabilities, and children. The prevalence of malnutrition was on the rise in Syria and constituted a significant public health challenge. In 2022 NWS surveillance report survey Indicated a Global Acute Malnutrition prevalence of 5% while Severe Acute Malnutrition doubled from 0.8% in 2020 to 1.3% in 2022 by MUAC measurements. Approximately more than 50,800 children with SAM and 4600 expected to have SAM with medical complications with a 10-20% high attributable risk of death. Furthermore, anemia was a challenge affecting 33% of under-five children and 53% of women of reproductive age. Additionally, unrecommended child-feeding practices including bottle feeding and artificial feeding was common among mothers due to the increase in indiscriminate distributions of formula milk and misconceptions about the negative effects of breastfeeding according to the mother’s mood or diet. According to SMART Survey, 2022: only 54.3% of women initiated breastfeeding within the first hour of birth, and only 33.33% continued to breastfeed up to 2 years (12-23 months).
Nutrition cluster partners prioritized the scale-up of prevention and treatment of wasting among children under five years and pregnant and lactating women including support for timely and appropriate IYCF-E. However, the absence of agreed harmonized operational guidance as well as minimum quality standards to inform the response led to a fragmented response, unharmonized reporting, response mapping challenges, and weak technical capacities. As such, Northwest Syria Nutrition Cluster requested the GNC TST support.
• Developed NW Syria MIYCN operational guidance
• Developed a toolkit of updated resources for the implementation of the MIYCN operational guidance
• Developed a supervision and mentorship guidance
• Conducted Training of Trainers with UNICEF and cluster members
• Developed M&E toolkit