Analysis on Stunting Among Syrian Refugee Children
In Lebanon, the nutrition and health of vulnerable populations, including Syrian refugee children, are at risk. This is especially the case following the recent series of financial and economic crises in the country that majorly affected livelihood conditions, increased poverty rates, and decreased the consumption of adequate diets. Particularly, stunting is a major nutrition issue among under-5 Syrian refugee children residing in informal settlements (ISs) in Lebanon, as revealed by the results of the recent 2021 Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transition (SMART) survey with a prevalence of 25.8%. Childhood stunting creates serious consequences including increased levels of morbidity and mortality as well as poor child growth and development.
An exploratory approach was conducted in which information was collected from a desk review, interviews with relevant stakeholders, focus group discussions with mothers of Syrian refugee children, and online survey questionnaires with individuals from sector working groups. Eleven key informant interviews and eight focus group discussions with mothers were conducted, 16 members of different sector working groups responded to the online questionnaire. The World Health Organization (WHO) Conceptual Framework on Childhood stunting was used as a guide to determine the factors contributing to high stunting levels.
Given the multi-level/multi-sectoral nature of factors contributing to stunting, actions needed to prevent and address stunting should ensure an integrated and multi-system approach that engages different sectors including nutrition, health, food security, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and social protection.