Emergency response to address malnutrition through improved nutrition, mental health and care practices in Maungdaw District, Rakhine State

The violence that took place on October 9 2016, and the ensuing insecurity across Northern Rakhine State (NRS), resulted in the suspension of humanitarian services in the area. Many of the affected people missed out on their seasonal food assistance, school feeding and regular nutrition support for at least three months, resulting in a significant negative impact on the food security, health and nutritional status, and mental health of vulnerable families. With this emergency response, Action Contre la Faim (ACF) will address increased malnutrition through an integrated program, which aims to reduce child and Pregnant and Lactating Women (PLW) undernutrition, mortality and morbidity.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Basic nutrition
Emergency food assistance
Protection, access & security
01.05.2017 - 31.05.2018
CHF  572’000
Background In Rakhine State, tensions between the Buddhist majority and a Muslim minority have simmered since widespread outbreaks of violence in 2012 and 2013. On October 9th 2016, violence returned, as a group of Muslims launched attacks on three Border Guard Police (BGP) posts in Northern Rakhine State. The incident triggered sweeping clearance operations that raided villages, arrested about 600 suspects and led to the death of an unconfirmed number of local Muslims. According to the UNHCR, the heavy-handed military response led to the displacement of almost 100’000 people, with over 70,000 fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh and over 20’000 being internally displaced.
Objectives To contribute towards reduction in morbidity and mortality associated with acute malnutrition in children under five and pregnant and lactating women in Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships, Northern Rakhine State, Myanmar.
Target groups
  • Nutrition service delivery: focus on Children under five and PLW. However, children from five to ten years old will also be included.
  • Mental Health and Care Practices activities: most vulnerable beneficiaries according to psychosocial distress criteria.
  • Capacity Building: 325 Super Community Care Takers (SCCTs); 300 Traditional Birth Attendants/ Traditional Healers;
  • 65 staff from the Ministry of Health;
  • The intervention will indirectly benefit 10,160 caretakers, while an estimated 64,800 children and PLW will be screened. The overall catchment population is approximately 800,000 inhabitants, in both Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships.
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: Treatment of acute malnutrition is accessible and adequate for beneficiaries in Maungdaw District, Rakhine State.

Outcome 2: Technical capacities and coordination is increased between actors working in psychosocial support (PSS) and protection


Expected results:  

  • Running of 2 Stabilization Centres (SC), 12 Out-patient Treatment Programmes (OTP) and 12 Supplementary Feeding Programs (SFPs) targeting Pregnant and Lactating Women (PLW)
  • Distribution of Mother and Child NFI/WASH kits to support efficiency of the treatment.
  • Integrated detection of acute malnutrition among children and PLW at community level
  • Capacity strengthening of Ministry of Health (MOH) and participation to Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) roll out
  • Provision of integrated Mental Health and Care Practices support
  • SMART survey to assess the prevalence of malnutrition in the area
  • Capacity building sessions on mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for psychosocial support (PSS) actors in NRS
  • Follow-up of trainings through field team supervision and liaison with relevant protection actors in the area
  • Disability situation analysis

Results from previous phases:   ACF started its nutrition activities in 2003 and has been receiving support from SDC since 2015.  Between May 2016 – January 2017 a total of 11,118 children aging 0-119 months were admitted as severe acutely malnourished (SAM). Performance standards from May to September were within SPHERE standards (Cure rate- 78.7%, Death rate- 0.5% and Defaulter rate- 11.1%), but after October incident defaulter rate increased and cure rate decreased considerably because all humanitarian services were suspended by the Government due to military operations.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Humanitarian aid
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Action Against Hunger

Other partners
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC); Handicap International; National Nutrition Center of the Department of Health
Coordination with other projects and actors Coordination with other INGOs (MSF, Malteser), UN agencies (UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR) and authorities in Rakhine (Township Administrators and Medical Officers)
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    572’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    555’844 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF   572’000