WHO increases its efforts to reach malnourished children in South Sudan
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over 261,000 children living in South Sudan are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition.
Insecurity and a worsening economic crisis has resulted in high food prices, local currency devaluation and hyperinflation therefore eroding household purchasing power and increasing food insecurity.
In addition to this, the Sudanese lean season started earlier than anticipated. ‘Lean season’ refers to a period of time between harvests where farmers and their families are forced to rely on food aid to survive. This has further impacted food security and threatens the most vulnerable members of the population.
Acute malnutrition is higher than previous years due to these combination of factors.
In response to this, WHO has doubled its support for its inpatient facilities in areas affected by critical malnutrition.
So far, WHO have provided 89 severe acute malnutrition kits to 41 stabilisation centres. The kits are designed to provide medical treatment for 50 children under 5 suffering from severe malnutrition with medical complications. This includes antibiotics, antifungal, de-worming, antimalarial and anti-scabies medicines, and a rehydration mix specific to treat cases of severe acute malnutrition.
Over 5000 children that have acute severe malaria with medical complications have been treated at the centres.
Out of the 261,000 children estimated to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition this year, at least 10-15% are expected to develop medical complications.
Without the proper treatment, children with severe acute malnutrition are ten times more likely to die than their healthier peers.
Mr Evans Liyosi, WHO Representative a.i for South Sudan commented:
“A malnourished child is a sick child...the child needs medical treatment to control medical complications such as fever, diarrhoea and pneumonia.”
The provision of medical supplies along with capacity building training program on inpatient care to prevent child mortality is the utmost priority of WHO, according to Mr Liyosi.
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Photo credit: WHO