Nutrition in Tajikistan
Nutrition in Tajikistan Michael Golden 22.06.99
Re: Nutrition in Tajikistan Patrick Kolsteren 29.06.99
Re: Nutrition in Tajikistan Mona Shaikh 30.06.99

Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 09:36:26 +0100

From: Michael Golden <>

Subject: Nutrition in Tajikistan


Dear Ngonuts,

I have received this message from Diana Porter, working in Tajikistan.


From : Diana Porter, Health Education Project Coordinator, Aga Khan Foundation, Khorog, Tajikistan



I need some advice on publications or information about nutrition problems and solutions for people living in high mountain areas similar to Badakhshan - Nepal and the Andes- 2200m asl.

People here have had economic problems since the Soviet Union broke up so are not able to purchase much food and the mountain area is short of land.

They grow potatoes and wheat but the potatoes often freeze. Apricot and apple trees grow at the lower altitudes and people are starting to grow vegetables in kitchen gardens. The majority of the population have had humanitarian food given them but this is being fazed out for some people.

Children and some women have micronutrient supplements - iodine, vitamin A and D and iron but these have not shown up in blood and urine samples.

People often only have tea with milk and salt and bread for their food.

Some don't have the bread. There is much stunting which a worry for the future. In my Health Education work we will teach nutritional information and what to plant nutrition wise in the kitchen gardens to children via the schools and encourage children to take the information home. I need help from people who have worked in similar situations so we can give this information. I realise there may be cultural differences but obtaining the information will be a good start. I look forward to hearing from you.

Diana Porter


Clearly there are a lot of questions raised by this message, such as whether there has been an adequate food security assessment, why the humanitarian food is being fazed out for some people at this time if the situation is so fragile and coping strategies have not been developed, why blood and urine samples show no improvement from A,D, Fe and I2 supplements and what is being done to investigate and correct the problems with this program. Perhaps those in the UN system helping Tajikistan can help complete the picture for us? However, in the mean time, it would be great if those ngonutters with experience in Nepal and the Andean countries could help. Thank you very much indeed!

Mike Golden

Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 15:02:58 +0100

From: "Patrick Kolsteren" <> <>)

Subject: Re: Nutrition in Tajikistan


Dear Diana,

I worked for almost four years in Nepal and spend month in Tibet doing a nutrition assessment. Your mail indeed raises many questions and I don't know where to start answering.

High altitude communities are very vulnerable because they usually have small pieces of land which are very labour intensive to cultivate. The alitude also limits very much the types of foods which can be produced. People concentrate predominantly on growing energy producing crops, In Nepal this were patatoes at higher altitude. In Tibet they grow barley. Vegetables are rarely cultivated but people consume often "wild" vegetables. Local communicities know what time of the year a certain type of wild plant can be found for consumption. There are many conservation techniques used to preserve vegetables for the winter.

In a first time I would concnetrate on seeing that there is enough energy available and to find out what vegetables people look for.

Iodine deficieny will only be controlles by active interventions. In a high altitude situation communication is often the limiting factor with few roads and long distances to cover by foot. fortified products will almost never reach the majority of the community. In the short term supplements are the best choice. This is also the case for vitamin a and D deficiency. We found in Tibet that the prevalence of rickets was very high after the winter so it is best to target supplementations just before teh winter starts.

How to implement supplementations is another question. Are health services available and do they cover the population?

If so they would be best suited to implement the supplementation program.

Kind regards



Nutrition and Child Health Unit, Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp

NAtionalestraat 155, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium tel 32-3-2476389 Fax 32-3-2476543

Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 13:48:15 +0100

From: "Mona Shaikh" <>

Subject: Re: Nutrition in Tajikistan.


There are several useful reports on the subject of food security and nutrition in Tajikistan. Some are area specific but most cover the whole country.


1. Who's Needy?: An Assessment of Househoold Food Insecurity in Tajikistan, ECHO, Aug 1997 (discusses potential target groups for food aid)

2. Nutrition Survey: Food Security, Health and Nutritional Status Analysis of the Population of Selected Districts in Leninabad Region and The Regions of Republican Subordination, DW/GAA (Deutsche Welthungerhilfe/ Gernam Agro Action, Dec 1998

3. Evaluation of the World Food Programme: Emergecy Operations in Tajikistan with Specific Reference to EMOP5253/03, Nov 1997

4. Vulnerability Mapping and Assessment of the Nutritional Status (Karategin and Tavil-Dara Valleys, Region of Republican Subordination, Republic of Tajikstian, Action Against Hunger

5. Special relief Operations Service (TCOR): Mission report, Tajikistan, FAO Sep 1996

6. FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to Tajikistan, FAO/WFP Aug 1993

7. Rapid Food Security and Nutritional Assessment, Tajikistan, CARE International/USAID, Aug 1994


This list was suggested by my colleague Asif Niazi in the WFP regional VAM (Vulnerability Assessment mapping) Unit.


Mona Shaikh

World Food Programme, Islamabad, Pakistan