By Jennifer Browning
Haiti’s Ministry of Health is launching a door-to-door survey,the first of its kind since the 1970’s, to question how widespread and acute malnutrition is among children.
A recent Miami Herald article reports the Ministry of Health had already agreed to perform the survey before two hurricanes and two tropical storms pummeled the tiny country in August.
Dr. Teresa de la Torre, the nutrition and health specialist for UNICEF Haiti, said the study will serve as a baseline about the current situation regarding malnutrion among children and guide geographical priorities for treatment sites.
The survey comes after 26 children reportedly died from severe malnutrition in Baie d’Orange, an isolated mountain village, this past month. Dozens more from the town and neighboring villages were hospitalized.
Concerned that the severe malnutrition may be more widespread than Baie d’Orange, the mission has been going door-to-door for several weeks now in the southeast surveying the nutritional health of children.
The plan is to have a complete “nutritional picture of the country” according to Olivier Le Guillou, country director for Action Against Hunger. Action Against Hunger is conducting the survey province-by-province in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.
Prior to the series of storms in August, Haiti was already realing from a food crisis that sparked days of deadly. With the compounded crisis, Haiti’s Ministry of Health feels it is more urgent to find out how children are being effected.