The UK government, through the Department for International Development (DFID), has committed another £4 million UK pounds to support UNICEF’s lifesaving interventions to scale up the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in Chad.
Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin said:
“This UK aid support will provide a lifeline to tens of thousands of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world, where major humanitarian crises are made worse by conflict, food insecurity, and health epidemics.”
In Chad, the current humanitarian situation is characterised by recurrent emergencies, such as flooding, droughts, diseases outbreaks, food and nutrition insecurity, an influx of refugees from neighbouring countries and a protracted conflict in the Lake Chad Basin area. Chad is currently ranked 186 out of 189 on the 2018 Human Development Index. Poor governance, poverty, low status of women and insufficient funding of basic social services remain barriers in improving children’s and women’s lives and constrain the development of the country.
Food insecurity, micronutrient deficiencies and sub-optimal infant feeding contribute to child undernutrition and therefore to child morbidity and deaths. In addition, the low access to basic health services, lack of safely managed drinking water combined with poor hygiene and sanitation conditions are key factors that impact the malnutrition rate and jeopardise child survival and development. Malnutrition in children manifests itself as stunting, wasting, essential vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
The Minister of State for Africa added:
“This nutritional support to vulnerable children in Chad will help address the worst effects of these crises.
“Through the current grant of 4 million UK pounds, UNICEF will ensure the procurement of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), therapeutic milk and essential drugs, directly benefitting 58,670 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in 20 provinces of the country,’’ says Viviane Van Steirteghem, Chad UNICEF Representative.
“In addition, an estimated 40,000 mothers and caregivers of malnourished children will benefit from improved hygiene and sanitation conditions in 30 health facilities.”
The DFID contribution is being distributed directly to the supported health facilities. UNICEF Chad will carry out regular monitoring exercises to ensure that the food aid effectively reaches the children requiring treatment, hence ensuring optimal recovery rates.
In 2018, thanks to DFID support, UNICEF was already able to order RUTF to ensure the treatment of 47,600 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. The additional contribution for 58,670 cartons provides lifesaving assistance for children in need in the first quarter of 2019.