N-Fight against Acute Malnutrition in 47 villages of N’Dali

To Update

According to UNICEF figures, 35% of children aged 0-5 years suffer from chronic malnutrition (stunting). In 2018, the prevalence of acute malnutrition in Benin averaged 5%, but this varies from region to region. In the department of Borgou, which includes the Tchaourou and Parakou-N’Dali zones, this is 10.8%.

In order to eventually start a collaboration with UNICEF as a recognised partner in the two sanitary zones, the Foundation is focusing on the municipality of N’Dali. There the percentage of acute malnutrition was the highest, at 13.53%. This was evident from the large screening campaign in September 2018.

Between July and November 2019, the large-scale multisectoral health and nutrition project was launched in 47 villages in N’Dali.

An overview of the objectives;

  • Screening of 80% of children aged 0 to 5 in intervention villages
  • Treatment of all children with moderate malnutrition
  • Treatment of 95% of severely malnourished people
  • Raising awareness of 5,000 pregnant women and 2,000 grandmothers


The Foundation, as a partner of Hôpital St Jean de Dieu, is already intensively engaged in health programmes in the Sanitary Zone of Parakou-N ‘Dali. We closely involve the coordinating doctor of Parakou-N ‘Dali and his team in these activities.

The programme is coordinated by the Foundation’s nutritionist, who has a key role in the smooth running of the activities. Twelve animators have been recruited who are responsible for the door-to-door screening of children.

Patients with severe malnutrition are referred to health centres or the hospital, depending on the severity of their illness. A small specialised nutrition centre has been temporarily set up in each village to monitor the recovery of children with moderate malnutrition and to prevent their condition from deteriorating. Moreover, simple cooking workshops are organised, where ingredients with high nutritional values are added to local dishes. Ingredients that are not too expensive and at the same time easy to find, such as flour enriched with soya. Regular sessions are set up in the centres to raise awareness about the importance of a balanced diet among parents and grandmothers.

The screening took place between August 12 and September 15, 2019. They worked a whole week in each village.

The strategy was to go door-to-door to reach as many children as possible. A total of 10,900 children between 6 and 59 months were screened. In the 47 villages we found 269 children with severe acute malnutrition without complications (MASsC) or 2.26%, 85 children with severe acute malnutrition with complications (MASaC) or 0.71% and 945 moderately acutely malnourished children (MAM) or 7.94%. On average, 11.91% of children had acute malnutrition, all degrees of malnutrition together.

For the treatment of the children the Foundation followed the Benin national protocol for acute malnutrition, together with the CNT, CNA and FARN;

  1. Therapeutic Nutrition Centre Hôpital de Zone BOKO (CNT):
    59 cases of MASaC were sent to the CNT, but only 8 were eventually admitted and treated. The other children did not go, for various reasons such as (1) lack of resources for travel to the hospital, despite the promise of free care; (2) the distance between the village and the health centre (CNA): (3) too long duration of care and a mother who could not be missed at home for that long, (4) the negligent habit of caring for children and refusal to take the reference sheet. Giving families better information and gaining their trust are in the focus of the next phase of the programme.
  2. Medical centers in the villages:
    153 of the 269 children with MAScC were referred to the medical centers in the villages. They received an intensive nutritional treatment based on ‘Plumpy Net’ (distributed by Unicef) along with medication.
  3. Temporary Specialized Nutrition Centre (FARN):
    Of the 945 moderately acutely malnourished children (MAM), 819 received an intensive 15-day treatment based on special high-energy-density flour containing a mixture of corn, soy, sugar and oil (PREMIX). Each MAM child received 300 g of PREMIX per day, which is equivalent to 1300 Kcal. During this period, 4 sessions were organized for children and their mothers during which anthropometric measurements were carried out, the evolution was monitored, feeding lessons and cooking demonstrations were given and the PREMIX was distributed.
    The entire treatment was offered free of charge and was carried out in close collaboration with the social service of the municipality that monitored the families.

The results of the programme have shown some important problems which will be further worked on in a next phase in order to have an even greater impact on the dietary habits in the villages.

The screening and treatment of children with acute malnutrition in the municipality of N’DALI had an important impact. During the next three months we will mainly[ED1] work on specific actions to promote behavioural change in the villages.

Subsequently, door-to-door mass screening will be organised in the second half of the year to evaluate the Impact of all these actions.

Amount : 41,500 euros
(of which 15,418 euros financed by KBS, Fonds Vandewatering)