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Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index in adults is equal to weight (kg) divided by the height squared (metres). For individuals with an average activity level, a BMI between 18.5 – 25 is normal. A BMI below 16 indicates severe malnutrition. (FAO, 1994)


Care involves the actions necessary to promote survival, growth and development. This includes actions at the household level in conjunction with household food security and health promoting behaviour. It is recognized within the Declaration on the Rights of the Child: “[the child] needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”.

Complex emergency

A major humanitarian crisis of multi-causal nature that requires a system-wide response in which a long term combination of political, conflict and peacekeeping factors is commonly involved.

Crude mortality rate

The crude mortality rate (CMR) is the annual number of deaths per 1,000 people in the population. In a normal population in a developed or developing country, the CMR is approximately 10/10,000/year which is equivalent to 0.27/10,000/day (or 8/10,000/month). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides an indicator: a CMR above 1/10,000/day is a very serious situation and above 2/10,000/day is an emergency out of control (ACC/SCN, 1995).

Female literacy rate

The female literacy rate is the percentage of women over 15 years of age who can read and write.


Ancylostomiasis, an infection by hookworms, that is, any nematode belonging to the superfamily Strongyloidea (Osol, 1972).

Household food security

Access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life (FAO, 1992).

Hunger gap/hunger season

The time of year when food from the last harvest is running low and the next harvest is still a few months away.


Infectious disease due to the protozoan Leishmania donovan, transmitted by sandflies of the genus Phlebotomus. It is characterized by irregular fever of long duration, chronicity, enlargement of the spleen and liver, emaciation, anaemia, leucopenia and hyperglobulinemia (Osol, 1972)


Swamps (Sudan)

Under-five mortality rate

The number of deaths of children under five years of age per 1 000 live births.

Palm cabbage/palm heart

The large meristem of diverse palm species. It can be found in different parts of the world: Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia (Tabora et al., 1993)

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