The availability of up-to-date and relevant information on nutrition and mortality is pivotal in allowing developing countries to make informed decisions on how to best reach the most vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, the lack of personnel able to collect, analyse, and interpret such information has been a huge drawback in achieving this goal.
SMART (Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transition) is an inter-agency initiative, which was launched in 2002 by a network of organisations and humanitarian practitioners including donors, policymakers, and leading experts in emergency epidemiology and nutrition, food security, early warning systems, and demography. This methodology provides a standardised method of undertaking surveys to collect information on the two most vital, public health indicators in assessing the severity of a humanitarian crisis: the nutritional status of children under-five and the mortality rate of the population.
In 2006, ACF Canada through the assistance of the UK’s DFID (Department of International Development), signed an agreement which would allow 200 persons from various organisations (ACF, local ministries of health, UNICEF, other international and national NGOs) to acquire the skills to use this methodology.
Since this time, and through additional assistance from the Global Nutrition Cluster and ECHO, ACF Canada has been successful in training over 400 persons in SMART in over 15 countries. Furthermore, ACF Canada has developed its technical expertise in national survey protocols and the integration of these into the national systems, the most recent were undertaken in Burkina Faso and Mali.
A key measure of ACF Canada’s success has been its ability to continually adapt and refine SMART, which has included: updating the guidelines, software, and training materials and also creating a user website.
Today, based on these experiences, ACF Canada is seen as the lead agency able to serve as a technical resource for a comprehensive capacity building programme and the continual improvement of the SMART methodology.
To find out more visit the SMART Methodology site: www.smartmethodology.org
Cholera in Haiti : Hundreds of Thousands Affected
Since cholera first appeared in Haiti in October 2010 the disease has already affected 645,000 people, which is more than 6% of the population. 8,028 deaths have been reported by the WHO. The WHO’s projections for 2013 are for 120,000 new cases, which would be about equivalent to the number of cases seen in 2012. According to a study done by Professor Renaud Piarroux and his team, Haiti suffers over half of all the cases of cholera in the world and about a third of the global deaths attributed to cholera. Learn more
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