Problems of dual vulnerability in nutrition: A qualitative study of older persons caring for under 5-year-olds in post-disaster Haiti

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Malnutrition plays a significant role in under-five mortality rates following disasters. Older people play an important role in childcare in non-Western societies, which often increases in displacement contexts. Until now, policy, in general, and nutrition programmes, in particular, have focused on the mother-child dyad.


To gather information on possible barriers to older carers accessing nutritional services for the children they care for and explore ways to overcome these obstacles.


A qualitative approach was taken to explore the experiences of the carers themselves. Focus group discussions provided data, which were analysed using grounded theory.


Data collected showed older people have similar needs to other caregivers in emergency settings, needs that are often amplified by age. Moreover, many barriers to accessing services were elicited, including targeting and advertising of nutritional programmes, alongside physical and psychosocial barriers to assessing existing support. Participants generated potential solutions to each identified barrier.


As older people in Haiti were often the sole carers of under-fives, there is a need to recognise their importance in this role and support them within. More generally, in any emergency setting, organisations need take into account all stakeholders in child nutrition when planning and implementing programmes.

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