Constructing a nutrition deficiency index: Applications for the Democratic Republic of the Congo under a decade of humanitarian crises

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is perennially plagued by prolonged phases of poverty, conflict, and increased internal migration, as well as pandemic outbreaks such as Ebola and COVID-19, and limited livelihood opportunities. Such unexpected or catastrophic events have rendered households vulnerable and resulted in poor health outcomes. Given this background, intend to analyze the nutritional profile of households for a period spanning almost a decade using the Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES). Construct a composite nutrition deficiency index (NDI), capturing intake of 14 different macro- and micronutrients (which we refer to as dimensions)—namely, calories, protein, calcium, zinc, folate, thiamine, niacin, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin E—using the popular Alkire-Foster methodology. This methodology, usually used to construct multidimensional poverty indexes, in this case helps measure the incidence, intensity, and combined extent of multinutrient deprivation. DRC’s values on the multidimensional NDI vary regionally from 0.13 to 0.73.