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Initiation of Development of an Early Warning System to Locate "Pockets of Child Undernutrition" at District Level


DMUAJK Dassanayake,

Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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DGNG Wijesinghe

Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
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Importance of an early warning system capable of detecting most needy populations beforehand is emphasized in preparation for effective response, particularly for a developing country like Sri Lanka where most nutrition interventions are established and maintained with limited resources. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to develop an Early Warning System to identify early “pockets of child undernutrition” by Medical Officer of Health/Deputy Director of Health Services (MOH/DDHS) divisions in Kandy District. Prevalence of underweight among children aged 1-5 years was the indicator used. MOH/DDHS areas where child underweight prevalence was continuous at least for eight quarters exceeding 30% were classified as “pockets of child undernutrition”. Predicted under 5 year old child underweight prevalence (determined using secondary data collected from year 2003 to 2006) from first quarter of 2007 to third quarter of 2009 in Kandy District, were cross-validated with real time data. Using the same trend analysis model, child underweight status for fourth quarter of 2009 and first quarter of 2010 in Kandy District (MOH/DDHS area wise) were predicted and mapped using Arc View (version 3.2) software. Predictions were significantly validated with real time data (p<0.05). As per the developed early warning system, Hasalaka and Medadumbara MOH/DDHS areas were the real “pockets” that should be mostly targeted in future interventions. Further, possibilities to improve and enhance the quality of suggested early warning system were also investigated.

Keywords: Child undernutrition; early warning system; predictions.


Tropical Agricultural Research 22(3) (2011) 305-313

How to Cite: Dassanayake, D. and Wijesinghe, D., 2011. Initiation of Development of an Early Warning System to Locate \"Pockets of Child Undernutrition\" at District Level. Tropical Agricultural Research, 22(3), pp.305–313. DOI:
Published on 17 Oct 2011.
Peer Reviewed


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