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2009.01.01

* UNICEF: Malnutrition Rates are Soaring in Tchonchi Village, Northern Cameroon
* 시간: 03 min 09 secs
* 촬영도시: Guider, Northern
* 촬영국가: Cameroon
* 촬영일자: 01 Nov 2009


Daily life in the village of Tchonchi in northern Cameroon revolves around preparing the main meal of the day. It's usually a dish of dried sorgham mixed with water.


It's not a balanced diet but poverty and a lack of knowledge on the need for protein and vitamin rich food has resulted in soaring malnutrition rates in this part of the country.


51,000 children die every year in Cameroon from poor nutrition - many of them in the northern region.


Volunteer community health worker, Sara Djanatou, has made it her mission to educate villagers on eating more healthily. She travels up to 15 kilometers a day - going from house to house to spread key messages about nutrition under a programme supported by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health.


She visits Maboule Marie, a mother of 12 to check on the progress of her children. Her youngest, a set of twins, are severely malnourished because they haven¹t been fed a balanced diet.


The effects have been crippling. At the age of two - the girls are still unable to walk. Maboule is also undernourished.


A vital part of Sara¹s work is to teach families on the importance of eating a variety of food.


It's common in this region for villagers to survive on 1 grain based meal a day. Vegetables are limited and they can¹t afford to buy meat.

 

SOUNDBITE: (Foufoulde -local language)
It¹s really difficult for me to feed my large family. We just can¹t afford good meals. I pray to God that I don¹t have any more children because we can¹t afford to feed them properly.²


Maboule takes her children regularly to a local UNICEF supported health centre, following advice from Sara. Here - they¹re given energy and protein rich food fortified with vitamins. As result the twins are steadily gaining weight.


SOUNDBITE: (French)
"In this northern region we have 100,000 malnourished children with rapid weight loss. The programme which covers 11 out of the 41 districts here has made it possible to treat 5000 to 10,000 children. We are looking for funds to scale up the programme."

 

DENIS GARNIER, NUTRITIONIST UNICEF CAMEROON


For more severe cases life saving treatment is available at the local hospital. A team of UNICEF trained doctors are able to treat complicated cases by providing emergency theraputic feeding.


Doctors here say scaling up the feeding program in the north is essential in the fight against malnutrition and key to giving Cameroonian children a healthier fut