Nearly 2 mil­lion chil­dren in Su­dan mal­nour­ished: UNICEF

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Some two mil­lion Su­danese chil­dren un­der five suf­fer from mal­nu­tri­tion ev­ery year, UNICEF’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive said yes­ter­day, urg­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to boost fund­ing to tackle the prob­lem. Of those two mil­lion, nearly 550,000 chil­dren have life-threat­en­ing se­vere acute mal­nu­tri­tion, with many of those af­fected liv­ing in the un­der­de­vel­oped east and con­flict-hit Dar­fur re­gion. “Over 38 per­cent of chil­dren un­der the age of five are chron­i­cally mal­nour­ished across Su­dan,” said Geert Cap­pelaere, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the UN chil­dren’s agency to Su­dan. The num­ber of chil­dren un­der five af­fected by chronic mal­nu­tri­tion works out at around two mil­lion, he told AFP in an in­ter­view. This fig­ure in­cludes 550,000 with se­vere acute mal­nu­tri­tion.

“In terms of num­bers, it is an in­cred­i­bly huge num­ber of chil­dren who are af­fected by mal­nu­tri­tion in Su­dan,” he said. The worst af­fected ar­eas are Red Sea State in east­ern Su­dan and North Dar­fur State in the west. Eth­nic in­sur­gents have been bat­tling the Arab-dom­i­nated Khar­toum gov­ern­ment in the western Dar­fur re­gion since 2003, dis­plac­ing mil­lions and leav­ing some 300,000 peo­ple dead ac­cord­ing to the UN. East­ern Su­dan has suf­fered from se­vere un­der­de­vel­op­ment and is one of the coun­try’s poor­est re­gions.

Moth­ers stop­ping breast­feed­ing too early and high rates of di­ar­rhoea among chil­dren be­cause of poor san­i­ta­tion were be­hind the high mal­nu­tri­tion rates in the east. Ev­ery year, UNICEF in Su­dan treats some 150,000 of the most se­verely mal­nour­ished chil­dren. Cap­pelaere urged the gov­ern­ment and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to con­trib­ute more funds, say­ing that “bil­lions, not mil­lions” of dol­lars (eu­ros) are needed to re­duce child mal­nu­tri­tion lev­els. “We need to con­tinue en­cour­ag­ing the gov­ern­ment to in­vest more in mal­nu­tri­tion but at the same time it will have to be a col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity will have to step up if it is se­ri­ous in its com­mit­ment to help the Su­danese peo­ple,” Cap­pelaere said. — AFP

BEL­MONT: Justin Balido, peer health co­or­di­na­tor and se­nior health ed­u­ca­tor with Health Con­nected, speaks to a ninth-grade Teen Talk High School class at Carl­mont High School in Bel­mont, Cal­i­for­nia. Sex ed­u­ca­tion in some Amer­i­can high schools is evolv­ing be­yond preg­nancy and dis­ease preven­tion to in­clude lessons aimed at curb­ing sex­ual as­saults. — AP

KHAR­TOUM: UNICEF’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Su­dan, Geert Cap­pelaere, speaks with an AFP jour­nal­ist yes­ter­day in the cap­i­tal Khar­toum. — AFP


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