UNICEF provides nutrition assistance to thousands of malnourished children in Kassala State
For decades eastern Sudan’s Kassala State has faced a nutrition crisis, with stunting rates affecting 44 per cent of children under-five years. Malnutrition is largely caused by the lack of a varied diet and essential nutrients, shortage of clean drinking water, poor sanitation conditions, high disease prevalence, increased food costs, and poverty. Inadequate feeding practices and the lack of a varied diet are among the key determinants of stunting in Kassala, where only 16.3 per cent of children are receiving the minimum acceptable diet.
With the support of the United Nations Central Emergency Fund (CERF), UNICEF—in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health—have been working to treat and prevent malnutrition in Kassala State. Nutrition interventions include treating severely malnourished children; providing micronutrient supplements; providing counselling on good infant and young child feeding and care practices; and the importance of observing vaccination programs. To reduce excess morbidity and mortality among children under-five years caused by common childhood diseases (diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory tract infections, malaria, and vaccines preventable diseases), UNICEF will continue to provide quality, life-saving health and nutrition services to over 197,500 children under-five years in the state. UNICEF will also support 60,000 children suffering from severe acute malnourished (SAM) with therapeutic food and care through the out-patient treatment programme (OTP). In addition, 150,000 pregnant and nursing mothers will be provided with infant and young child feeding (IYCF) counselling.
The CERF Secretariat allocated $100 million to partners in Sudan at the beginning of this year to support emergency and early recovery interventions. The projects will be implemented for 12 to 18 months. Ordinarily, projects funded under the CERF are usually implemented in under 12 months. This UNICEF nutrition project is part of the CERF allocation, providing thousands of children with the life-saving nutrition assistance they need to be able to live healthy and productive lives.