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The European Commission provides UNICEF €3 Million to Help Combat Malnutrition in Mali

© UNICEF Mali / 2009 / Dicko

BAMAKO/BRUSSELS, 09 July, 2013 – The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) is increasing its funding to UNICEF to help address the urgent needs of children and women affected by acute malnutrition with life-saving interventions and consequently reduce under-five mortality in southern regions of Mali.

UNICEF announced today that ECHO has donated €3 million for Nutrition interventions, bringing the total ECHO’s contribution to UNICEF Mali in 2012-2013 to €8 million. In 2011, The European Union Delegation in Mali already provided a three-year funding of €4.5 million to mitigate malnutrition in the three northern regions.

ECHO’s additional financial support will help UNICEF to identify and treat some 32,500 children under five suffering from severe acute malnutrition. They will be identified through community volunteer screening and in health facilities, where they can receive treatment, medicines, therapeutic ready-to-use food and access to safe water. Additionally, some 5,000 children aged of 6-23 months old are to receive preventive ready-to-use food in southern regions of Mali during the harvest season, when peaks of acute malnutrition were recorded.

Rates of severe acute malnutrition (severe wasting) in children in Southern regions of Mali are critical (2.3%). Mali has one of the highest rates in global and severe acute malnutrition in the world and in Africa. Around 27% of under-5 children suffer from stunting (chronic malnutrition) and delayed mental development.

"The food and nutrition situation has been aggravated by the impact of the conflict in the country. We need to intensify our aid now to save lives and help communities build their resilience- that is the only effective and sustainable way to address malnutrition", said Brian O'Neill, Head of Sector for West Africa in the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department of the European Commission.

One in five children does not even reach the age of five. Conflicts in Northern Mali during the last sixteen months and an ensuing humanitarian crisis have only worsened the situation. 45% of child deaths in Mali are attributable to malnutrition (fetal growth restriction, suboptimum breastfeeding, stunting, wasting, and deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc), this represents around 60,000 children who die every year due to under nutrition (i.e. one under-five death due to under nutrition every nine minutes).
''UNICEF is scaling up its ongoing efforts to reach thousands of children in need with life-saving nutrition interventions,” said UNICEF Representative, Francoise Ackermans. “This much needed funds will be utilized to ensure that thousands of suffering children can get immediate access to therapeutic food, medicines and professional care they direly need,'' She ended.

Since the Humanitarian Emergency situation in the North started in early 2012, The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) has helped UNICEF to provide immediate and life-saving interventions to vulnerable women and children in high risk regions. The additional support announced today will make a vital difference in the lives of women and children in southern regions of Mali.

Press release
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