Dan Maxwell and colleagues publish in Food Policy

June 2023

Dan Maxwell and colleagues including, Peter Hailey and Anastasia Marshak published “Using the household hunger scale to improve analysis and classification of severe food insecurity in famine-risk conditions: Evidence from three countries” in Food Policy.

This study sought to test how well the Household Hunger Scale (HHS) differentiates between Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Phase 4 and Phase 5 and to investigate the validity of the usage of HHS as the “anchor” indicator across the spectrum of IPC analysis. Data was collected in seven different severely food-insecure areas of South Sudan, Kenya, and Somalia. The findings show that, overall, the HHS performs reasonably well as an “anchor indicator” across the IPC scale and is able to differentiate the majority of cases in Phases 4 and 5 but tends to over-classify (over-estimate the severity of food insecurity at the household level)—especially at the lower end of the IPC scale. At the high end of the scale, these results indicate that HHS is good at flagging highly food-insecure households but may require additional information to rigorously differentiate households in Phase 4 from those in Phase 5. The study identified ways to improve classification by HHS by some simple additional questions or observations to differentiate between Phase 4 and Phase 5. In an era of extreme scarcity of humanitarian funding, this has substantial implications for resource allocation and humanitarian prioritization.

The article is available here.

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