Tackling child malnutrition (by Islamane Abdou)
Together with the government of Niger and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), UNICEF is fighting child malnutrition
400,000 children under the age of five are admitted to nutritional programmes in Niger
Malnutrition is a major threat to children’s health and development in Niger. More than 4 out of 10 children under 5 are stunted, robbing them of their full potential. Global acute malnutrition is consistently above the 10 per cent ‘alert’ level – even during times and in places where no nutrition-related emergencies have been declared. Micronutrient deficiencies are rampant, and more than 70 percent of children under 5 are anemic.
Despite recent efforts, severe acute malnutrition rates and burden remain extremely high. On average annually, 400,000 children under the age of five are admitted to nutritional programmes in Niger.
UNICEF continued to support nationwide treatment for severe acute malnutrition. Nutritional and medical supplies were provided to health facilities across the country, enabling to treat more than 380,000 children with severe acute malnutrition in 2018.
Malnutrition is not just about food, or just about health care, but is an issue that requires action from different angles. That is why UNICEF and its partners are helping Niger develop a multi-sectoral nutrition response. UNICEF is working to build political commitment among government and partners to reduce stunting and other forms of undernutrition; support the design and implementation of comprehensive and effective national policy and programmes; help strengthen the capacity of community workers; promote multisectoral delivery of services and supply, including the provision of ready-to-use therapeutic food.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).