N’DJAMENA – The UK government has committed another equivalent of US$5.2 million to support UNICEF’s treatment of severe acute malnutrition in Chad.
The fund, donated through the Department for International Development, will expectedly bolster lifesaving interventions in the poor north-central African country, ranked currently ranked 186 out of 189 on the 2018 Human Development Index.
“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,” said Harriet Baldwin, the UK’s Minister of State for Africa.
Chad’s ever-worsening humanitarian crisis is a culmination of recurrent emergencies like flooding, droughts, diseases outbreaks, food and nutrition insecurity, the influx of refugees from neighboring countries and a protracted conflict in the Lake Chad Basin area.
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 under-nutrition and child morbidity and deaths.
Low access to basic health services, lack of safely managed drinking water, combined with poor hygiene and sanitation conditions, are other key factors that impact the malnutrition rate and jeopardize child survival and development in the country, where malnutrition in children is manifest in stunting, wasting, essential vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
“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. In addition, an estimated 40,000 mothers and caregivers of malnourished children will benefit from improved hygiene and sanitation conditions in 30 health facilities’,” said Chad UNICEF Representative, Viviane Van Steirteghem.
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 allows providing lifesaving assistance for children in need in the first quarter of 2019.