UNCIEF commends government for fight against malnutrition

UNCIEF commends government for fight against malnutrition
Mothers and children gather at an IDP camp in South Sudan. UNICEF predicts heightened level of malnutrition in South Sudan mid this year. [File Photo]

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) hailed the government’s efforts in addressing the high prevalence of malnutrition among vulnerable children and women.

The organisation said the country has made significant steps in addressing the problem despite widespread food insecurity, a high prevalence of childhood illness, and limited access to adequate hygiene facilities.

UNICEF’s Country Representative, Hamida Lasseko, said the prevalence of childhood wasting had decreased from 22.7 per cent in 2010 to 16.2 per cent in 2019.

She was speaking during a joint action and advocacy for nutrition event yesterday.

“This has resulted in a decreasing risk of child wasting for thousands of children, but we know that wasting increases the risk of children dying by 8 to 9 times compared to their well-nourished peers,” she emphasized.

“I am therefore taking this opportunity to commend the government of South Sudan and its partners for this achievement.” 

However, Hamida said the journey ahead for the implementing partners was still long and difficult.

She noted that despite these achievements, wasting continues to affect one in every six children in South Sudan.

“Wasting among children, therefore, remains a public health issue to be handled as a national priority.” “It is estimated that in 2022, about 1.4 children between age 6 to 9 months and over half a million pregnant and lactating women will need treatment for acute malnutrition in South Sudan,” she stressed.

The official added that the country had demonstrated a commitment to addressing all forms of malnutrition among vulnerable groups.

The country has a vast network of nutrition sites that allows it to provide quality treatment to more than 800,000 children suffering from moderate or severe wasting, as well as 250,000 acutely malnourished pregnant and lactating women each year.

Hamida said despite having access to women and children who are in need, the situation remains challenging due to the impact of the floods, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Ukraine crisis.

“This is also compounded by the challenges that are faced by the humanitarian to adequately respond to redaction in funding across the board.”