ISLAMABAD, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Malnutrition problems for children under five in the earthquake-affected areas are gradually improving seven months after the terrible earthquake that devastated Pakistan on Oct. 8.
A joint survey launched on Thursday by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP) and World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with Pakistan's health ministry has provided vital information needed to improve health and nutrition interventions.
Results from the survey showed that children under five were the most vulnerable and were disproportionately affected by the earthquake.
In terms of nutrition, the findings also indicated that a high proportion of families were consuming more than five categories of food each week, which is an encouraging sign.
"We needed to have a baseline in order to have a monitoring process established," said UNICEF Nutrition Project Officer Moazzem Hussain.
The official APP news agency quoted Hussain as saying that the post-earthquake survey emerged from a need "to see whether the situation is deteriorating or whether the situation is improving and whether the interventions are working".
The data collected in the survey have been helping agencies on the ground to monitor their continuing relief efforts, making sure that the most vulnerable children get the best possible care and assistance, according to the survey.
Collecting the complex data was a challenging task, since the earthquake zone included difficult terrain in two different areas of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
Hussain said, "Altogether, we did four different sampling frames."
The two representative communities were Mansehra and Muzaffarabad while the other two samplings were representatives of camp populations in both regions.
All four population groups were surveyed using the same methodology and the same questionnaire.
The survey has been helping the Pakistani government, UNICEF and other partners working in the worst-hit areas to develop effective action plans for helping children and families who are still at risk. Enditem