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2008.05.29

* UNICEF appeals for money to fight malnutrition in Ethiopia
* 02 min 23 secs
* 19 May 2008

Ibro Bekeri Yusuf walked half a day with his severely malnourished daughter Khesna to reach Bissidimo Hospital in eastern Ethiopia.

Ibro Bekeri Yusuf  Farmer (Ethiopian/English translation)
“I have seven children and we were all doing well until the price of everything went up and then the rains failed. They are all suffering, but I brought her because she is the worst off.”

The rains which normally allow farmers to produce a second crop failed this year, and the UNICEF-supported feeding unit which delivers a life saving regimen of therapeutic milk and medical care, has been suddenly inundated with critically ill children.

More than two million Ethiopians are struggling without sufficient food and health care … and the country has extremely high levels of severe malnutrition.

In 2005 the Ethiopian government along with UNICEF and the World Food Programme, launched a strategy to deliver life-saving food and nutrition.

It’s part of a wider strategy that has cut under-five mortality by more than forty per cent between 2000 and 2006. With screening and accurate data collection, it allows authorities to quickly pinpoint the areas most in need in times of crisis. It’s helping children like Khesna who is receiving treatment that will have her back on her feet in a few weeks time.

Samson Dessie, UNICEF Nutrition Project Officer (English)
“With the quality service usually given at this centre she will stay five to ten days to reduce all the edema. Once her edema subsides she can be discharged and at home with ready to use therapeutic foods like plumpy nut or BP-100.”

But rising food prices have affected the ability to distribute supplementary food rations and fewer than half of the children in this district are being screened for malnutrition. UNICEF is appealing to donors for more than $10 million to respond to the emergency needs of affected children and women in Ethiopia.

 

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