[Complementary nutrition for the young child following the devaluation of the CFA franc (African Financial Community): 2 case studies in the Congo and Senegal urban environment]
L'alimentation de complEment du jeune enfant aprEs la dEvaluation dufranc CFA: deux Etudes de cas en milieu urbain, au Congo et au SEnEgal.
Developing countries frequently see their currency depreciated to varying degrees. The consequences of such monetary disturbances on the nutrition of young children are not well known, though children are the most vulnerable in nutritional terms. One year after the 50% devaluation of the CFA Franc (communauté financière africaine, "African Financial Community"), which took place on 12 January 1994 simultaneously in fourteen countries, nine of which are on the UNDP list of least developed countries, we wanted to find out the long-term effects of the devaluation, and the strategies that families had adopted to cope with it. In Brazzaville, Congo, in December 1994, an epidemiological survey was conducted on a representative sample of 893 children between the ages of 4 and 12 months in two districts, and indicators of child nutrition were established. A comparable survey had been conducted in December 1993, before the devaluation. In Senegal, in the absence of a previous survey which could be used in comparison, a qualitative survey using RAP methodology, was conducted in January 1995 in two towns near the capital. In three districts in each of these towns, a cluster of ten plots was chosen at random and surveyed, with a combination of semi-structured individual interviews with mothers (n = 60) and group interviews with all the women together (n = 6). The information was put together with interviews of 25 local traders selling food. In the Congo, comparison of the two surveys shows that the practice of breast-feeding had hardly changed, nor had the age at which baby food was introduced (90% of children of 4-5 months take semi-solid and solid foods); on the other hand, more children are being given the ordinary family meal earlier, at 6-9 months. The proportion of baby foods based on commercially imported flour has fallen (from 32% in 1993 to 18% in 1994), and has been replaced with local products based on maize; this change is more marked among poorer families. The low nutritional value of such preparations is in part compensated by the addition of sugar, though less milk is added (28% in 1994 as opposed to 43% in 1993). In Senegal, mothers do not seem to have changed their breast-feeding practices either, the age at which baby foods are introduced, or the number of times they are provided daily. The most important change is the drop in quality of food given to children, and the poorer family food for the older children. The partial switch from imported products to local produce was an expected consequence of devaluation; it is clearly confirmed here for nutrition of young children, with the consequent loss of nutritional quality (a reduction in energy density and in nutrients). The first thing needed is, therefore, an improvement in local manufacture of food supplements of good nutritional quality, for young children. Mothers also complain of the increased difficulty in managing a family diet so as to take account of economic needs, cultural values and nutrition. They therefore criticize a number of nutritional education messages that are clearly no longer appropriate to the new economic context. Finally the fact that young children are getting poorer quality nutrition is worrying for the future: if it lasts, the nutritional status of children will deteriorate; whenever possible, monitoring must be established so that measures can be taken when necessary to forestall any dramatic deterioration that would endanger the health of the children.
- PubMed Central : 저널 > https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2486850
- World Health Organization : 저널
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