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UNICEF and WFP launch mass nutrition screening as hunger threatens lives of children in South Sudan

© UNICEF/NYHQ2015-1394/Rich
Two-year-old, Kuot is being treated for severe acute malnutrition, at the UNICEF-supported Al-Shabbah Children’s Hospital, in Juba, South Sudan.

JUBA, South Sudan, 29 October 2015 — UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) launched a mass mobilization campaign today that will screen more than a quarter of a million children for acute malnutrition in Warrap state.

More than 3.9 million people are experiencing severe hunger in South Sudan. The recently released Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) has warned that at least 30,000 people are living in extreme conditions and face starvation and death. Some 237,000 children are estimated to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

In Warrap state alone, 26,000 children are thought to be acutely malnourished. Though the state is not directly affected by the ongoing conflict, the acute levels of food insecurity, inadequate food consumption, poor maternal and child feeding practices, illnesses and limited availability of health and nutrition services have contributed to the high numbers of malnourished children.

Until the end of the year, 240 trained volunteers will go door to door to assess and screen more than a quarter of a million children, referring those with malnutrition to health facilities and other nutrition treatment centers. These community volunteers, who have been trained by the state Ministry of Health with support from UNICEF and WFP, will teach mothers and caregivers how to keep their children healthy through best practices on nutrition, hygiene and sanitation. Drawing on the experience of 2014, the response is strengthened around prevention and treatment of malnutrition by better providing communities with food and access to services to treat both severe and moderate acute malnutrition.

“Visiting every single home will help ensure that children who are malnourished or sick will be referred for treatment and will receive life-saving care,” said Vilma Tyler, Chief of Nutrition for UNICEF in South Sudan.

Basic health and nutrition services remain out of reach for most children in South Sudan. Since January 2015, some 100,000 severely malnourished children under five have been treated in UNICEF supported outpatient therapeutic programme services while WFP has assisted more than 205,000 moderately malnourished children under 5.


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For more information, please contact: 
Malene Kamp Jensen,  UNICEF South Sudan, +211 (0) 955109325 
Mercy Kolok, UNICEF South Sudan  +211 (0) 929517862 / 0955 639 658





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