Mortality, malnutrition and the humanitarian response to the food crises in Lesotho

Renzaho, Andre 2006, Mortality, malnutrition and the humanitarian response to the food crises in Lesotho, Journal of emergency primary health care, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. E1-E15.

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Title Mortality, malnutrition and the humanitarian response to the food crises in Lesotho
Author(s) Renzaho, Andre
Journal name Journal of emergency primary health care
Volume number 4
Issue number 4
Start page E1
End page E15
Publisher Monash University, Centre for Ambulance and Paramedic Studies
Place of publication Frankston, Vic.
Publication date 2006
ISSN 1447-4999
Keyword(s) drought
food aid
Summary Background: At the height of the food crisis in southern Africa, the Government of Lesotho declared a state of famine and emergency in April 2002 and launched a Famine Relief Appeal for over $137 million. World Vision, in partnership with the World Food Program, became involved in December 2002 providing food aid to affected communities.
Objective: to document mortality rates, causes of death, malnutrition prevalence, and the proportion of lost pregnancies after almost three years of humanitarian response to the food crisis in Lesotho and to propose a way forward.
Design: A two-stage, 30 cluster household survey was undertaken in three districts from the 16th to the 26th of May 2005, with a sample size of 3610 people.
Results: The crude mortality rate (CMR) of 0.8/10,000/day (95%CI: 0.7-0.9). The reported CMR was significantly lower than the CMR emergency threshold (<1/10,000/day). Using 2000 as a pre-drought baseline, 38528 excess deaths occurred between 2000 and 2005. The under-five mortality rate (U5MR) of 3.2 deaths/10,000/day (95%CI: 2.8-3.6/10,000/day) was 4 times the reported CMR and 1.4 times higher the U5MR emergency threshold for sub-Saharan Africa (2.3/10,000/day). CMR was lower among food aid beneficiaries (0.68; 95%CI: 0.57-0.79) than non-beneficiaries (1.42; 95%CI: 1.13-1.70). This was also true for U5MR (2.94; 95%CI: 2.39-3.50 versus 6.44; 95%CI: 5.21-7.68). The prevalence of wasting increased from 5.4% to 12% while that of stunting declined from 45.4% to 36.2% between 2000 and 2005, but the nutritional status did not vary by beneficiary status.
Conclusion: Despite the alarming U5MR, findings suggest that the food aid program ensured survival mainly among adults. The situation could have been catastrophic in the absence of humanitarian assistance.
Language eng
Field of Research 111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920411 Nutrition
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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