Malnutrition in Yida camp: Safa's story
3 November 2012 - Little Safa gets a new life through timely treatment of severe malnutrition
Two year old Safa Juma, is one of the lucky ones. She has survived, despite being severely malnourished when she arrived in Yida refugee camp in South Sudan. Her mother, Munira Kamal, seeing that her child was unable to even drink on her own brought her to a nutrition centre run by Samaritan’s Purse with support from UNICEF.
“When she arrived, I did not know if she was going to survive. Her body was completely shutting down, but now you can see the difference. She has more flesh, she plays and smiles,” said Kukuri Mathews in charge of nutrition with Samaritan Purse.
Safa was admitted to the nutrition centre for two weeks before being released. “I am so relieved that Safa has improved. I bring her for regular check-up from the nurses to see how she is doing,” said Munira.
War has separated Munira’s family. Her husband remained in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan while she fled South. “I found my parents in the camp, and now we are living together. I heard from newly arrived refugees that my husband is fine but we cannot communicate because the telephone network has not been working for two months,” Munira added.
Fighting in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan did not allow people to plant during the last rainy season and malnutrition rates are high among the refugees. From September 2011 to August 2012, some 3,260 malnourished children were treated at the nutrition center in Yida refugee camp. Samaritan Purse started the nutrition program in early 2011, and UNICEF has been supporting them with therapeutic foods for treatment of severe malnutrition and technical support. Samaritan Purse is one of five partners, UNICEF supports in three refugee camps in Pariang County, Unity state.
UNICEF is responsible for the purchase and logistics of all the supplies used for treating severe malnutrition in emergency response across South Sudan. It is with the generous support of donors such as the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department, that this is possible.
These supplies are critical in life saving interventions and have made a difference for Safa. “My little girl will now grow up and soon she will be running and playing with the other children,” her mother said smiling.
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